December/January 2020

Venturefest 2019

Attracting record numbers for a sixth year, the 2019 Venturefest North West event kicked off again at Manchester Central with a fantastic range of speakers and exhibitors. Organised by GC Business Growth Hub and taking place on Wednesday 20 November, Venturefest North West claimed it’s title of the region’s biggest annual innovation conference and exhibition. The event once more welcomed North West business owners, entrepreneurs and investors who were looking to grow and build their businesses, whether they were starting out, scaling up, or already well established. Richard Jeffery, Director of Business Growth at event organisers GC Business Growth Hub, said: “This has been the most successful Venturefest North West yet, and it’s been fantastic to see the breadth of business innovation from across our region. The point of Venturefest North West is to encourage fresh thinking and collaboration – and with 50-plus speakers and panellists, more than 80 business exhibiting, and 1,150 entrepreneurs coming together under one roof it has really captured the imagination of the business community.”

Former BBC Dragons’ Den judge Jenny Campbell, Founder and CEO of YourCash Europe delivered the headline speech. Jenny talked about her extensive business career, how she has both challenged and been challenged by her leadership roles in the banking sector, and her time on the Dragons’ Den panel. Earlier in the day, Founder and Managing Director of US-based Elevate Capital, Nitin Rai, discussed his background and the importance of investing in businesses led by women and minority ethnic groups. A packed conference programme also saw a speech delivered by Nine Lives Media Founder Cat Lewis about her business journey in broadcast television.

Jenny Campbell

Daresbury-based NGPod won the final of the Innovation Showcase Competition, with Dicey Tech receiving the Audience Award. Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager at NatWest, Venturefest North West’s headline sponsor for 2019, said: “Congratulations to NGPod Global, who met some fierce competition today and delivered an incredible pitch that had the full attention of the panel. They should be very proud, as should all of today’s finalists. While the competition demonstrates how tough it can be for entrepreneurs and emerging businesses, Venturefest is fundamentally about boosting collaboration across our North West ecosystem and I think the encouragement shown across the board today speaks volumes. It’s been a pleasure to sponsor Venturefest, a unique event where everybody involved has had chance to develop their business ideas and hopefully take new opportunities forward as a result.”

Daresbury-based NGPod wins final of Innovation Showcase Competition
A diagnostic device designed to ensure the safe placement of medical feeding tubes by NGPod Global won over a tough panel – beating the competition of 11 other strong pitches – in the final of the Innovation Showcase Competition at Venturefest North West 2019. The independent panel, which comprised business specialists from Bruntwood Works, Catax, Dehns, Graphene Innovation Engineering Centre, Made Smarter, Manchester Metropolitan University, NatWest and the University of Salford, awarded NGPod Global with a business support package worth nearly £10,000. A second winner at the prestigious competition final – Dicey Tech– received the Audience Award chosen by delegates at the event, which attracted a record attendance of 1,150 to Manchester Central, and will receive a similar business development support package. Cameron Thorpe, Head of Marketing and Communications at NGPod Global (pictured above), said: “It means a lot for our organisation to win the Innovation Showcase at Venturefest North West. The overall competition was extremely high with lots of innovative businesses pitching to the panel today, so it feels very special to win.” NGPod also took away the Production Innovation Award at the Innovation Showcase Competition Final. Other winners included Dream Agility (Digital Innovation Award), Alison Handling Services (Most Innovative Established Business), and Dicey Tech who also won the Service Innovation Award. These businesses will also receive business support packages. The annual competition received entries from more than 120 start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses from across the region.

Venturefest North West 2020 is back again next year at Manchester Central on 20 October and is shaping up to be even busier than this year’s event. For more information go to