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Business & Economy

Search launched for North East innovations

The hunt is on for businesses developing disruptive or improved products or services to showcase their innovations at VentureFest North East in November.

A popular feature at the region’s annual innovation conference, the Innovation Showcase gives businesses from across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and Durham the chance to demonstrate how their work has the potential to transform society or business.

Elizabeth Shaw, innovation manager at the North East BIC, said: “Over the years we have seen some of the most thought-provoking ideas demonstrated as part of the Innovation Showcase, and we know there is no shortage of innovation taking place across the North East.

“But innovation isn’t resigned to one field. It takes place in all industries, and the North East needs to shout louder about its success. The Innovation Showcase supports this, by celebrating the diversity of innovation coming out of the region and aims to inspire others.”

As well as the chance to exhibit to more than 700 delegates, businesses will also have the chance to take home the ’Innovation of the Year’ accolade as part of the event’s inaugural awards ceremony.

More details will be announced in the coming weeks, but this is the first year that VentureFest North East has delivered a platform to formally celebrate those businesses who are driving innovation in the region.

Those taking part in the showcase will be entered into a delegate vote to find the best innovation at VentureFest North East.

Estelle Blanks, executive director of the Innovation SuperNetwork, which plans and delivers VentureFest North East, said: “Innovation is constant. There is always something new to be developed and industrial challenges that need to be met. VentureFest North East is a stand-out opportunity for businesses at the forefront of innovation, no matter how big or small, to showcase their work.

“The introduction of the Innovation Awards is an additional opportunity for businesses in all sectors to celebrate their achievements and I’d urge businesses of all sizes and from all industries to think about putting forward their own innovations for the showcase.”

Entry is free of charge at and is open to all businesses in the North East – regardless of size, sector or stage of development. Closing date for entries is Friday, September 07.  Selected companies will be given exhibition space at the event and will benefit from various activities designed to raise their profile and maximise the opportunity. In previous years the event has showcased everything from a seaweed farm to fingerprint biometric readers and from wheelchair adaptations to 3D scanning booths.

Geeky Medics ( took part in the Innovation Showcase in 2017. The platform connects medical students with teaching resources, globally.

Dr Lewis Potter said: “Geeky Medics came about because of my own frustration as a medical student sourcing teaching resources online. I developed the platform whilst I was studying, spending most evenings and weekends on the project. The opportunity to demonstrate Geeky Medics to the business community as part of VentureFest North East was a hugely valuable experience for us. Since then we have continued to focus on growing the reach of the platform, with our content now receiving over 2 million views a month from a global audience of medical students and other healthcare professionals.”

VentureFest North East 2018 is all about bringing together people from different business sectors to learn from each other and use innovation to improve their competitiveness and profitability.

The event takes place on Wednesday 14 November 2018 at St James’ Park, Newcastle.