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Why Your Business Needs to Innovate to Hit Top Gear!

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The Bloodhound Super Sonic Car in action. Get a closer look at Venturefest North West, where the show car will be on display. [Credit: Flock London]

CHRIS GREENHALGH, Head of Innovation and Programme Development, GC Business Growth Hub, organisers of Venturefest North West, shares his views.

1,000 mph: that’s the target for the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car, which is making its world land speed record attempt next year. For an idea of just how fast this is, imagine covering the length of four-and-a half football pitches in one second.

What an amazing feat of engineering, innovation and human courage it would be to reach that mind-blowing goal. Such triumphs require not just commitment and funding, but access to a wealth of specialist knowledge and expertise from a whole range of organisations, sponsors and suppliers, all of whom contribute towards addressing the challenge.

Chris Greenhalgh, head of innovation at GC Business Growth Hub, which is running Venturefest North West.

The Bloodhound team will no doubt have experienced all manner of setbacks along their journey. That they’ve found solutions to them is down in no small part to the sharing of knowledge and experience across all the parties involved. Collaboration is key.

So what does all this have to do with your business?

It isn’t just complex projects like this one which benefit from innovative thinking and collaboration. The principles apply equally to firms of all sizes that want to solve anything, from identifying market opportunities to understanding how they could translate into new products and services, and countless other challenges.

Put simply, innovation is a critical component of business growth. Innovative SMEs not only have stronger turnover performances compared to non-innovative firms, they are also more committed to the development of their workforces and are more likely to export than non-innovative firms.

It’s important to underline here that innovation is not just about incredible challenges like Bloodhound and doesn’t even have to be about creating something entirely new. Innovation also means re-inventing a product or service for a new market, or changing the way to run a business by creating or adapting different processes and systems.

Experience tells us at GC Business Growth Hub that most firms have innovative ideas and opportunities. Too often it’s difficult to get them moving and out of first gear, because of difficulties in developing and commercialising these opportunities, this can be due to a lack of finance, human resource, specialist know-how, time, technology, strategy or even your business culture or lack of the right facilities. Help is though available to overcome these issues.

Fortunately, in Greater Manchester and across the Northern Powerhouse there’s a wealth of expertise within our entrepreneurial businesses, universities and many specialist organisations that can support innovation.

And many of these will be coming together under one roof at Venturefest North West – the region’s biggest annual innovation event, with 1,000 attendees expected. So if right now it feels like you’re trying to drive your business forward with the handbrake on, what better time to find the spark you need. Register for free now at www.venturefestnorthwest.com.

I hope to see you at Manchester Central on September 13th…and keep an eye out for the Bloodhound world land speed record car, which will be making a special appearance.

Venturefest exhibition opportunities available: promote your business amongst the region’s entrepreneurs, investors and academics. If you’re interested in exhibiting, contact Peter Gaunt at GC Business Growth Hub on 07753 418 033.