A one-day festival to boost business growth in Yorkshire came to Huddersfield.
The 3M Buckley Innovation Centre hosted the Venturefest Yorkshire Roadshow “to inspire, entertain and amaze” delegates with talks, workshops and an exhibition as a foretaste of the main Venturefest Yorkshire event to be held on November 16 at York Racecourse.
Delegates to the Huddersfield event were also told about two competitions aimed at businesses or individuals in the region looking for support to develop their innovative ideas or to get investment to grow their idea.
The first, Pitchfest, is an investment pitching competition with a £5,000 cash prize and 12 months of business support to help get business plans off the ground. It is for entrepreneurs who are investment ready.
The second, the Innovation Showcase, is an opportunity for new start-ups – or even pre-start-ups – to showcase their innovative business idea. Selected finalists will be featured at the main Venturefest event in November, as well as being connected with real investors.
Pitchfest is open for applications until 16 September, with the live finals taking place on 16 November.
Last year’s winner was healthy eating café and products company ÜGOT, which started with a £100,000 director’s loan and launched its first branch at York train station in 2013.
A second branch has since opened at Newcastle train station and the founders are looking to open new stores in Harrogate, Newcastle and Leeds. Their current branches generate turnover of £360,000 with a net profit of £24,000. The firm now employs 14 people, with three focused on the design and marketing of the brand.
Gordon Bateman, of Pitchfest sponsor Complete Resourcing, said: “We are excited about connecting Yorkshire’s entrepreneurs with our community of investors.”
Hiscox are sponsoring the Innovation Showcase, which provides earlier stage innovators, start-ups and pre start-ups with a supported showcase at the York event. All finalists of this competition will be offered a free stand at the show, coaching and in addition a prize of £1,000 to be awarded to the most innovative idea on the day.
Last year’s Innovation Showcase winner was Brighouse-based BugBrush, a toothbrush featuring a patented curved design to allow infants to safely and effectively clean their own teeth. Inventor and mum Rowena Johnson has since secured UK distributors and taken BugBrush overseas via distributors to another seven countries.
Venturefest Yorkshire was created 12 years ago to provide inspiration, support and investment for entrepreneurs and business managers in science, technology, creative and high growth businesses. During that time, it has welcomed over 14,000 people through its doors and generated a £5.4m injection into the regional economy directly and an estimated £22.5m via deals done and investments created.