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How have game technologies and digital creativity advanced innovation in the world of healthcare? How will this shape the future of solutions to real human problems? A team of experts at Venturefest East aims to solve these queries and more.

Next Thursday 21st September at Newmarket Racecourse, Venturefest East opens its doors to the East of England’s very best innovators, investors and entrepreneurs for an exciting day of showcasing, networking and knowledge sharing. As part of a wide portfolio of events on the day, we are very proud to be showcasing a schedule of engaging track sessions offering insights into some of the most topical issues around innovation in our local area and the wider community.

Join our platinum sponsor the University of East Anglia (UEA), and Anglia Ruskin University’s REACTOR team for a highly innovative talk exploring the impact of gamification in healthcare, and how the power of games technology has been harnessed to create innovative solutions for real human problems. They will discuss how their partnership has evolved to find new ways to innovate, add value to products and services through the application of games technologies, creative digital methodologies and knowledge sharing.

We are delighted to have Dr Nicola Hancock, Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Researcher with the Acquired Brain Injury Alliance (ABIRA) at UEA, join this session to discuss the role that technology could play in shaping the future of best practice for stroke rehabilitation. Dr Hancock will discuss how the ABIRA research team are applying lessons learnt from their work with the Design Council and engineering teams to develop tailored, evidence-based solutions, to advance stroke rehabilitation.

Dr Hancock said: “The potential for technologies to influence the delivery and effectiveness of stroke rehabilitation is enormous. We are all working to reduce barriers to the adoption of new technologies and to use existing technologies in ever more creative ways. Our collaborations with many partners, including service users, clinicians, health care leaders and engineers, are central to this work.”

Jan Storgards, Sector Lead for Digital and Creative Industries at Anglia Ruskin University will be leading the gamification session.

Jan said: “Our objective is to add ‘an entertainment’ layer of value to SMEs/Startups’ innovations through REACTOR activities. We aim to demonstrate how gamification has the power of changing behaviours towards a positive change. It is all about play; achieve; and reward.”

Applications within healthcare and medical arenas, data science and tourism will all be covered in this engaging session.

We will also hear from these ground-breaking projects:

Playphysio – Will be sharing how they harnessed the power of ‘play’ to shape a new type of chest physio for child patients managing long-term respiratory illness by increasing adherence.

Nolojy – Will be introducing their new Cambridge-based startup that focuses on helping businesses understand more about their trading and competitive environments, using the Nolojyst Web Application. They will be discussing how certain portions of this platform have been inspired by game-tech, and how this had been critical to their success.

YoYo Let’s Go – Will discuss how game-tech has inspired their family focused tourism app that makes it easier for people to be their own tour guide when visiting brand new locations.

Altogame – Will give insight into their multiplayer platform that enables people to explore and discover different types of human interactions, to help develop new ideas, solutions and responses to real life situations.

Cypherdelic – Will discuss their genetic evolution game, ‘Alive: Rule the Seas’. You will discover how to turn your single cell into an epic monster.

Laura Welham-Halstead, Venturefest East Champion, said: “This immersive session is a must attend for anyone with an interest in gamification and its wider application. UEA and ARU are really leading the way with gamification, finding novel ways to use the technology to solve real life issues. I’d encourage people to book their tickets as soon as possible for Venturefest East.”

This session is set to be incredibly engaging and informative. Don’t miss your chance to learn more able how this technology is shaping an important future for us all. Book your tickets to Venturefest East now: https://events.blendology.com/vfe17 (Tickets still only £36 each)

Experience The Best Of Innovation Brilliance Across Five Immersive Zones At Venturefest East.

Delivering a spectacular exhibition to accompany the entrepreneurial talks and track sessions, Venturefest East will take you on a journey of discovery through cutting-edge innovation in the East of England.

Come and experience our five immersive zones; World Beaters, Rule Breakers, Game Makers, Eye Openers and Life Changers, intelligently covering a range of key sectors including; Life Sciences, Automotive and Engineering, Food and Drink, Culture and Creativity, and many more. Areas of interest will include funding for innovation, renewable energy, the future of sustainable batteries, intelligent food waste solutions, smart cities, selling your products into the NHS, Internet of Things.

Navigate the five engaging zones to find out more about how the region is pushing boundaries for technological design and innovation. With a range of support services on hand to offer practical advice, there will be everything you need to gain knowledge, exposure, and an understanding of how the East has become a haven for investment and funding opportunities for those with the right ideas.

If you are an investor looking for local projects to support, or a fellow entrepreneur looking for networking opportunities to foster new ideas, Venturefest East is undoubtedly an event where you will connect and engage with the brightest innovation minds in the East. As an innovator, whether your next move is to make your innovation idea more marketable, or to point globally with a current invention, Venturefest East can equip you with the knowledge economy needed to turn your dreams into a reality.

We are delighted to have support from the University of East Anglia (UEA) as Platinum Sponsor of Venturefest East for the second time. We will be joined by Professor Fiona Lettice, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Professor of Innovation Management at Norwich Business School, (UEA), who will be delivering an engaging keynote talk as part of our insightful set of plenary sessions. Professor Lettice says:

“UEA is thrilled to sponsor Venturefest East again after the great success of last year’s event. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the exciting innovation happening in our region, and bring pioneering entrepreneurs and investors together to make connections, share ideas and forge new collaborations.”

The innovative exhibitors include…

Innovate UK – A chance for innovators to discuss opportunities for funding and partnerships to support business growth, with one of the UK’s strongest science and technology networks.

 PECK Drinks – Combining the wholesome goodness of free-range egg whites, with the convenience of an “on-the-go drink” model. PECK Drinks are revolutionising how we deal with food wastage because of “ugly eggs” not being suitable for sale in supermarkets. Discover their rich protein drink first hand, and learn more about their journey to market so far.

Hinton Bikes – Developer of lightweight folding electric bikes will showcase their designs for modern city life.

Hethel Innovation – How will the UK prepare for the ban of all petrol and diesel cars by 2014? Hethel Innovation will discuss the latest ideas in automotive and engineering, with a focus on electric vehicles and the future of sustainable batteries.

Eastern Academic Health Science Network – Will be showcasing their Innovation and Industry web kits, as well as providing key information for clinical entrepreneurs on the specific components of the Innovation Pathway.

TheMusicSite.Com – Bridging the gap between artist and fan, TheMusicSite will be giving an insight into their newly developed social-music platform, where artist can interact with fans, as well as providing other services such as the ability to manage, organise and showcase all media in one place.

Collusion – Art and technology will also make a unified appearance thanks to the contributions from Collusion who will offer a new a perspective on the world with the latest VR and AR technology.

Experience the very best of innovation brilliance with our showcase of entrepreneurial talent, in addition to lively talks and track sessions that promise to demonstrate the wealth of innovation thinking present in our local area, as well as providing the best networking opportunity available to help harvest the strength of that talent.

Early bird tickets are selling fast so to avoid disappointment make sure you book yours today: http://www.venturefesteast.co.uk/

Full details of the Venturefest programme updating regularly on the Venturefest East website: http://www.venturefesteast.co.uk/

Twitter: @VentureFestEast #VFE17




We’re delighted to announce ‘Healthcare Businesswomen Association’ (HBA) Rising Star winner, Rene van der Merwe as our latest speaker scheduled to give a keynote talk at Venturefest East 2017.

Rene has been Senior Director of Respiratory and Inflammation for MedImmune since 2009 and leads the respiratory group within the respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity (RIA) clinical development team. With previous roles including Director of Discovery Medicine Product Strategy for GlaxoSmithKline, Rene has a wealth of innovation experience to share from the world of Biotechnology and Clinical Development. She believes that:

 “Collaboration is a key factor to advancing science. Our philosophy at MedImmune is that innovation does not happen in a vacuum; rather, it takes an entire ecosystem working together to deliver medicines for patients: the public sector, academia and the private sector.”

Rene will be speaking with us candidly about how small companies can approach large companies to collaborate in advancing their innovations together.

Laura Welham-Halstead, Head of Communications & Connectivity for Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) commented:

“Rene is a leading light in the life sciences arena and we are delighted that she had agreed to be one of our keynote speakers at Venturefest East. Her experiences of Big Pharma, and how smaller, innovative companies can tailor their approaches to larger organisations, will undoubtedly be a valuable insight for any entrepreneur or innovator.”

Early bird tickets are still available to take part in this unique celebration of innovation, and secure your place to hear Rene’s speaker session, book your tickets now: http://www.venturefesteast.co.uk/. Full details of the Venturefest East programme will be available very soon. Follow us on twitter @VentureFestEast #VFE17 to get all the latest information.

Discovering the innovation landscape in the East of England

Posted by: , Posted on: at https://innovateuk.blog.gov.uk

I am Innovate UK’s Regional manager for the East of England. That means I work with stakeholders, particularly the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), to align our respective strategies for innovation and to understand and highlight the innovation strengths of the region.

Norwich Research Park
Norwich Research Park is an Enterprise Zone and home the New Anglia LEP as well as over 3000 researchers and clinicians working in six major research organisations

A great example of that is the Innovate UK in the East of England event, that took place recently near Cambridge. We worked with the LEPs and our family members, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) to bring 275 people together to:

  • learn more about how we support innovation
  • contribute their views on exactly what the region’s global strengths are
  • network and share ideas

Highlighting those strengths matters because LEPs and others need to build their strategies upon them and government has said, in its Industrial Strategy green paper, that it intends to build on areas of global excellence and help new sectors to flourish, as well as building on local strengths.

In the last ten years, Innovate UK has committed £307 million to over 2,700 business innovation projects in the East of England, £43 million in 2015/16 alone.

To learn more about the innovation hotbed of the East, visit Venturefest East, 21st September at Newmarket Racecourse. Early Bird tickets are still available: https://events.blendology.com/vfe17


Automotive and Engineering – Led by Hethel Innovation

With the new UK environmental target set to ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars by 2040, there hasn’t been a more pertinent time to find out more about the future of battery sustainability, and the evolution of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Will they be ready to support our milestone shift towards electric vehicles in the coming years? How far has this technology really got to come?

From super-efficient batteries through to future technology opportunities, a must attend track session has been unveiled at Venturefest East.

Venturefest East, being held on the 21st September at Newmarket Racecourse, is pleased to welcome a timely and poignant track session on Aerospace, Automotive and Engineering led by Hethel Innovation, a major player in supporting low-carbon technology initiatives in the East of England and beyond.

Leading entrepreneurs and experts from the field of low carbon technologies will join Hethel Innovation to share their own stories, giving valuable insights into the strengths and challenges faced by this evolving sector, as they prepare to shape the future of eco-tech for generations to come.

We will be joined by expert entrepreneurs who will unpack the concept of ‘Lightweight EV’, and the growth technologies supporting future applications for lightweight design and frame manufacture.

Covering many of the key questions surrounding this sector, we will also hear contributions on the developments of a low carbon infrastructure to support electric vehicles. As well as offering discussion around the revolutionary technology supporting the development of ‘sustainable super-efficient batteries’, before finally ‘whetting our appetites’ with what’s to be expected from future technologies.

Alice Reeve, Innovation Manager at Hethel Innovation:

“Our local SMEs are creating some of the most innovative solutions to the challenges we currently face. We have expertise and innovations bursting from automotive and engineering businesses, a selection of which will be presented in this session. We are excited to hear about future technologies and how they will impact our lives, hopefully you can join us!”

Laura Welham-Halstead, Venturefest East Champion and Head of Communications & Connectivity at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, added:

“This is a must attend session for anyone with an interest in the future of the automotive and engineering sector. You don’t have to be a manufacturer or supplier to this industry to benefit from the specialist knowledge that will be shared on the day. From future transport system to sustainable super-efficient batteries, this session will be an inspiring and engaging highlight of Venturefest East.”

Followed by a lively Q&A opportunity, giving you a chance to delve into this cutting-edge knowledge economy, and a platform to pose your innovation questions to the experts.

This future fundamental session is one not to be missed, as it will undoubtedly shape your expectations for the future of eco-tech and low carbon emission infrastructure.

Pull up a bean bag and get some sound business advice

Struggling to find the time to research R&D tax credits, scientific due diligence or new ways to fund your innovation? Ever wished you could grab 30 minutes with an expert to gain some helpful advice?

This year at Venturefest East we are proud to launch the brand new Bean Bag Briefing Lounge -sponsored by Price Bailey and PA Consulting. Here you will find a wealth of learning opportunities, where you can pull up a bean bag for 30 minutes of practical advice from a range of experts.

Topics covered will include:

  • IP strategy – The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and leading Intellectual Property experts, Marks & Clerk, will explain why it is vital to have an IP strategy to protect your ideas and business.
  • R&D Tax Relief – Hear from Price Bailey’s expert R&D Tax Relief specialists, and find out how you could benefit from R&D Tax Credits.
  • Accessing the NHS – If you’ve got a product you’d like to sell into the NHS, but aren’t sure how to start, then this is the session for you. Led by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (EASHN), you’ll receive practical advice and support to bring your products to the NHS.
  • People Magnets – Find out how to attract and retain the best team possible, with advice from recruitment specialist Claire Button at Bailey Fisher.
  • Scientific Due Diligence – PA Consulting and Dr Giles Courtice from Technologica will share their top tips for undertaking Scientific Due Diligence.
  • Funding – Find out more about new ways to fund your innovation – from developing a business funding strategy to considering crowd funding. Kevin Ward and Justin Grainger from Conatus Associates will share their insights into this important topic.

The Bean Bag Briefing lounge is designed to give you an informal, stripped back, tech free setting to soak up vital advice, without any of the modern-day distractions.

With so many experts under one geodesic dome the only thing left to do now is book your Venturefest East ticket now, for a chance to find a bean bag in the front row: https://events.blendology.com/vfe17


Mike Greene will speak at our 'What Investors Want' session.

What Do Investors Really Want?

It’s a topical discussion among all innovators and entrepreneurs alike. How do you secure successful funding? What’s the criteria? What are investors really looking for?

Taking place at Newmarket Racecourse on the 21st September, Venturefest East will be hosting a rare opportunity to hear from the experts themselves. At the ‘What Investors Want’ session you will hear from real investors including, serial entrepreneur and ‘entrepreneur-in-residence’ at Allia Future Business Centre, Mike Greene.

Unpacking valuable insights into what they really want and expect from innovators, these experts will tell you exactly what’s needed before they are willing to commit serious investment; you’ll certainly learn how to turn your business idea into an investment success for the future.

Mike Greene, serial entrepreneur and ‘Secret Millionaire’, said: As an Investor who has also built businesses around the world, I know how frustrating it can be to get your venture funded …but it’s not just about getting investment, it’s about getting the right investment from the right partner(s) to protect you and your business. The most important thing is not to give up – Walt Disney went to 302 Banks before he got the investment he needed and Colonel Sanders (KFC) was turned down 1009 times – being focussed, well structured and properly prepared can massively reduce these odds in your favour.”

Laura Welham-Halstead, Venturefest East Champion and Head of Communications & Connectivity at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, added:

“If you’re a business looking for investment this is a must attend session at Venturefest East. Our panel will be offering honest, no holds barred advice to any entrepreneur looking to secure the funding they need to grow their business. There will also be the opportunity for delegates to ask their own questions on the day, making it a unique opportunity not to be missed.”

With over 650+ delegates, a dedicated innovation exhibition area, highly-engaging track sessions and keynote speakers, you will have countless opportunities to network with and hear from tech leaders serious about investing in innovation.

All you have to do to attend this valuable and insightful ‘What Investors Want’ session, as well as take advantage of all the other Venturefest features is book your ticket to Venturefest East, and with Early Bird tickets still available Book Now to avoid disappointment: events.blendology.com/vfe17  Follow us on Twitter for more event announcements @VentureFestEast #VFE17


Connecting with local innovators to share expertise on how to access the NHS – by Eastern AHSN

Eastern AHSN is pleased to take part in this year’s festival to support the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, who will be leading the delivery of Venturefest East 2017.

As a designated innovation agency for the East of England, part of 15 Academic Health Science Networks set up by NHS England in 2013, we share the same vision of nurturing business growth and providing a wide range of support to spread innovation at pace and scale across the healthcare system – in order to achieve the ultimate goals of both improving health and generating economic growth.

We are particularly excited about the ‘Life Changers’ exhibition zone where we will showcase five innovators representing Eastern region to demonstrate new innovative products developed for the healthcare sector.

In addition to the exhibition zone, the Eastern AHSN will be holding a 30-minute “Beanbag briefing” session on ‘Accessing the NHS’ and six 45-minute 1:1 surgeries.

We will aim to share our expertise and educate delegates on what is required to get products and services, trialled, adopted and spread within the NHS. These will include support and advice around the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), clinical trials, tariffs, commissioning and procurement.

Speakers will include Mark Otto Smith, Economic Growth & Innovation Programme lead, Karen Livingstone, National Director of SBRI Healthcare, NHS England, and Director of Partnerships and Industry, and Ian Sandison, an independent healthcare consultant.

Karen Livingstone, National Director of SBRI Healthcare, NHS England, and Director of Partnerships and Industry, said: “Eastern Academic Health Science Network is committed to supporting innovative healthcare companies in the East of England to thrive and grow by providing a range of support from start up to scale-up. We’re thrilled to be part of the Life Changers zone, which will provide a platform for some of the region’s most exciting companies to demonstrate their unique offers.”

If you are an innovator with a new idea or an established business looking for support to develop, refine or scale your innovation into the NHS, we would be delighted to connect with you on the day.

You can find further information about the day on our website and book your ticket today.

Useful links


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Follow @TheEAHSN on Twitter and join our conversation under #VFE17 hashtag

Elevate Your Business Idea at Venturefest East

Do you have a new idea or innovation that you’d like expert feedback on? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pitch your business idea in a Dragons Den style environment? Well, the Elevator Pitch, sponsored by Mark & Clerk at Venturefest East 2017 could be that very opportunity.

What is the Elevator Pitch?
If you have an innovative business idea that you want to get in front of the right investors, or that needs support from specialist experts, Venturefest East offers the ideal Elevator Pitch opportunity for you to showcase your concept and distil knowledge from key influencers.

With just 60 seconds to present your new idea to a leading industry expert who will deliver immediate feedback to help you refine your pitch further, and advice on what to do next. Covering a wide variety of fields, our experts are keen to hear from entrepreneurs and innovators from all backgrounds – no idea is too out there for them!

Remember – the key is to deliver a pitch that’s as engaging and innovative as your concept, rather than just reading like a script.

Bring your idea to life in a lively, concise way, then receive immediate feedback and advice from our experts that you can take away with you to shape and elevate your idea and future business success.
All you need to do to take part in the Elevator Pitch is to book a place to attend Venturefest East on 21st September at Newmarket Racecourse, and then sign up for an Elevator Pitch spot. You can book your ticket now by visiting: https://events.blendology.com/vfe17

Don’t think ‘what if’, book your space now and see if you can impress our expert panel of judges!

Pitchfest start-ups set to showcase at region’s top tech event

St John’s Innovation Centre has announced nine companies to showcase their business ideas at Venturefest East 2017 – a feature packed one-day event celebrating the very best of innovative thinking in the East of England on 21st September at Newmarket Racecourse.

Carefully selected by Venturefest East organisers – the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP (GCGP LEP) – the successful businesses were chosen from twenty one companies that pitched to the UK and international investors during the Pitchfest Investor Showcase Day at St John’s innovation Centre.

“It’s inspiring to see this year’s Pitchfest joined up with Venturefest East”, commented David Gill, Managing Director at St John’s Innovation Centre. “This vital East of England event serves as an essential platform for successful companies to meet the region’s most influential innovators, investors and entrepreneurs under one roof.”

Laura Welham-Halstead, Head of Communications & Connectivity at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and Venturefest East Champion, added: “We are delighted to have such a strong selection of innovative companies taking part in our fast and furious Pitchfest competition at Venturefest East. All of the shortlisted companies are very strong, so I am looking forward to seeing them on stage battling it out on 21st September. I’d encourage as many innovators, entrepreneurs and investors as possible to join us on the day to be part of the best local innovation event of the year.”

The companies to showcase at Venturefest East are:

AMIHO Technology – a provider of LPWA networking solutions including LoRaWAN for smart metering and IoT applications.

Biotechspert Ltd – developer of an online platform technology for connecting businesses and investors to the right specialist expertise at the right time.

Cascade.bi – a developer of an out of the box, ready-made, business analytics dashboard solution built for the SME market. It connects directly with Sage 50 (other integrations planned).

Electric Blue Ltd – a provider of integrated charger and electric vehicle services, powered by renewable energy.

Hinton Bikes – a developer of lightweight folding electric bikes for the modern city.

PECK – a developer of a range of Protein beverages that use egg white destined for food waste.

TheMusicSite.com – a developer of a single music-centric platform for everyone who likes, buys, creates, perform and/or works in music.

TribeLab – a developer of the skills augmentation platform, enabling professionals to achieve things with data that they didn’t think they could, or were unaware were possible.

VegPatch – a developer of a free, multi-platform (iOS, Android, Web, Voice Assistants) companion app for vegetable gardening.

Venturefest East space and early bird tickets are selling fast. To avoid disappointment order yours today: http://www.venturefesteast.co.uk/ Full details of the Venturefest programme will also be available soon.