14 businesses find funding through recent Venturefest North East event

The well attended Venturefest event on Tyneside put entrepreneurs in front of funders

Gilbert Johnston Google's Joe Faith talks at Venturefest 14
Google's Joe Faith talks at Venturefest 14

Funders made offers to 14 businesses at the recent Venturefest North East event, which attracted over 500 people to the banks of the Tyne.

Details of the businesses which have secured funding are likely to emerge in coming weeks as packages are finalised, and the actual number is expected to be even higher once ongoing discussions sparked by the event draw to a conclusion.

The sell-out conference was orchestrated by Newcastle Science with support from Innovate UK, the Government’s Innovation Agency, and the North East LEP.

Delegates heard from the likes of Google project manager Joe Faith, the North East LEP’s Roy Sandbach and The Leighton Group’s Paul Callaghan.

A variety of investors and funders were present at the event, which is expected take place again in 2015 – becoming an annual autumnal event.

At this year’s conference former Northumbria University lecturer Mr Faith told outlined his thoughts on why speeding up the rate of failure as an entrepreneur can speed up the rate of success. He talked about the process of creating a minimum viable product to gauge demand and test the market for ideas.

Mr Faith was joined on the roster by the likes of Matt Mead, who runs Nesta’s social impact investment fund for innovative ventures tackling major social need in the UK, and Simon Evetts of Wyle Group, a partner of the European Space Agency and NASA, who spoke about how learning from space can be reapplied on Earth.

Roy Sandbach used the event to outline the North East LEP’s innovation strategy which is the framework for an investment of over £100m of European funding allocated to the North East for innovation initiatives.

Innovation is one of the key tenets of the North East LEP’s Strategic Plan for More and Better Jobs.

The Government’s innovation agency Innovate UK also chose to use the event to launch a new £2m national feasibility funding competition for the technology sector.

More than 40 exhibitors offered business advice and service to delegates who were also treated to an Innovation Showcase – presented in association with the North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC), featuring new products from some of the region’s most innovative businesses.

Delegates heard from a variety of other innovation experts in eight workshop sessions, led by industry partners Ward Hadaway, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, CPI with Durham University, Enterprise Europe Network, Escher Group, Newcastle Biomedicine, Newcastle University, RTC North, Design Network North and Zero Carbon Futures.

Working with GrowthAccelerator, the conference also featured over 250 separate ‘elevator pitch’ meetings between funders and businesses.

Venturefest North East 2014 took place at Hilton NewcastleGateshead on Tuesday October 21.

The Venturefest network extends innovation, investment and entrepreneurship focussed events to various UK locations where these processes are strong.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer