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Business & Economy

Dragon Piers Linney to fire up North East businesses at VentureFest

Dragons’ Den investor and entrepreneur, Piers Linney, will address a North East innovation conference alongside other keynote speakers next month.

Taking place online for the first time, VentureFest will focus on delivering practical advice for businesses and highlighting support available during COVID-19.

It will also have a particular focus on using innovation to build resilient and sustainable business models.

Piers is best known for appearing on Dragons’ Den, but he is also an active board member of British Business Bank and a trustee of Nesta, a leading innovation foundation.

He said: “I have experienced both success and failure, and what I know from this experience is the last year will have presented what will seem like insurmountable challenges for start-up and scale-up enterprises.

“The good news is there are many varying options for businesses working their way through the current climate.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my experience and insight on how innovation and collaboration can help businesses to thrive.”

Piers will open the event alongside Dr Nicola Millard, principal innovation partner at BT Enterprise, bringing together their expertise on shaping the future of work, the role of investment and how digital inclusion and exclusion can have a varying and widespread impact on business resilience and society’s pathway to decarbonization.

Dr Millard said: “We’ve learned during the pandemic that work can be done effectively in places beyond the office.

“But the future of work is neither about home working or office working… it’s about getting work done.

“Emerging is a digital first hybrid model – but, for that to work effectively, we need to fundamentally rethink old, analogue ways of working and reinvent them for a digital age.”

Estelle Blanks, executive director at the Innovation SuperNetwork who plan and deliver the conference, added: “It would have been impossible to put together a programme on innovation without thinking about the events of the last year.

“The economic impact is still being felt, and there is much uncertainty still ahead of us.

“With this in mind, we wanted to emphasize through VentureFest the support available for local businesses.

“We’re working with our partners to highlight some of this support, delivering practical workshops and providing real market opportunities through innovation challenges.”