Venturefest North West, the North West’s biggest annual innovation conference and exhibition, is still accepting entries from Stockport firms for its prestigious Innovation Showcase competition.
However, with a final deadline of 8 July, the clock is ticking.
Venturefest North West 2019 is organised by GC Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The event once again brings together entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and policy makers, and will take place at Manchester Central on 20 November.
With an anticipated 1,200+ delegates in attendance, the one-day business-to-business expo will feature inspirational speakers, interactive workshops and a chance to mix with other business owners, leaders and innovators from across the region.
It will also play host to the Innovation Showcase contest. The competition invites entries from businesses with a product or service which could grow rapidly with the right support and funding and is open to any investment-ready Greater Manchester SME from any sector.
Previous Venturefest North West winners have gone on to secure substantial investment, with runners-up also experiencing great interest in their proposition from business angels, venture capitalists, potential customers and partners.
The prestige of winning has also helped firms to attract high quality staff and enjoy an enhanced reputation as an innovative, ambitious and successful business.
In addition, the companies that scoop the top prize win a package of business support from Venturefest North West’s organisers, GC Business Growth Hub.
This includes advice, masterclasses, mentoring and other support which can help firms overcome barriers to growth and unlock increased economic potential.
This year there are four Innovation Showcase categories; Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation and Most Innovative Established Business. Entrants will be judged over the summer, and the category winners will be invited to pitch their business idea, product or service to the Venturefest North West audience in November.
This will be followed by an audience vote to find an overall winner.
But to be in with a chance companies must get their entry in by July 8th.
Rebecca Slater, Operations Director for Stockport-based Commerce Unlimited said of entering the Innovation Showcase last year:
“The opportunity given to us by the Innovation Showcase Competition and GC Business Growth Hub has literally been ‘the gift that keeps on giving.
“Even though we didn’t win at Venturefest North West, the support we have received as a relatively young business from the Hub has been invaluable, from funding to mentoring, to boosting our knowledge in things as varied as accounting, social media and PR.
“We suddenly found ourselves with a wealth of advice from a pool of experienced business professionals, and funding that we couldn’t have raised ourselves.
“Above all, they are a great bunch of people who have made a considerable difference to our business.”
Hosting this year’s Venturefest will be Greater Manchester serial entrepreneur and leading business commentator, Vikas Shah MBE. He said of the Innovation Showcase competition:
“I’ve hosted Venturefest before, and I’ve seen first-hand how much of an impact it makes on businesses to even be a finalist at the competition. There are many examples of firms that didn’t even win the audience vote, but went on to secure investment, customers and partnerships just from the profile of Venturefest.
“I would therefore encourage any SME in Stockport which has a great proposition, a clear vision for the future, and a desire to grow, to consider taking part in the contest.
“It really could help transform your business and it’s free to enter. But remember the deadline is fast approaching.”