Venturefest, the North West’s biggest annual innovation conference and exhibition, comes to Manchester Central on Thursday 13 September, providing a unique networking platform for companies from across the region.
The event – which brings together hundreds of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders – is also once again hosting the Innovation Showcase Competition.
Now in its fifth year, the Innovation Showcase is open to investment-ready firms from any sector who believe they have a product, service or commercial idea which could grow rapidly with the right support and funding.
Previous 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.
It has been calculated that 2017’s entries alone generated over £4m of funding offers from having taken part in the Innovation Showcase initiative.
The prestige of winning has also seen firms being able 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 will win a package of business support worth thousands of pounds from partners of Venturefest’s organisers, GC Business Growth Hub.
One example of how the Innovation Showcase contest can help transform a business is Nothing But Epic, a digital marketing agency based in Manchester who won in 2016 with their embryonic social networking platform, called Padoq.
Two years on and they have already secured over £400,000 in private investment (with another substantial round of funding to close very soon), have doubled their number of staff, and are about to launch the Padoq product globally.
Further, their MD Mike Anderson is frequently asked to speak at major business conferences across the UK, and the company has a very strong media profile.
Mike Anderson said: “Winning the Innovation Showcase was undoubtedly a turning point for us, as it helped put our agency and the Padoq concept in front of investors we would never have been able to reach by simply knocking on doors or through standard networking channels.
“It also helped us to attract some very talented employees, and it helped us forge lots of partnerships with both new customers and suppliers.
“The incredible package of business support from the Hub which we also won has been another key element in our growth. With their help we have successfully evolved the Padoq proposition to point where it is ready to launch commercially, and we have just relocated to new city centre offices.
“It’s an exciting time for the business, and our journey to this point really started when we got involved in Venturefest and entered the Innovation Showcase.”
This year there are four separate categories to enter: Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation and Innovative Established Business. There will also be an Overall Winner, plus a Venturefest Audience Winner chosen by a vote on the day.
Entry is free and is open to all firms from across the North West. The closing date for entries is July 31st.