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Business & Economy

Shape VentureFest North East!

Each autumn the regional innovation conference gathers together hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to explore current issues and new ideas relating to innovation with a range of leading experts.

This year, organisers are handing over the design of a new People’s Choice part of the programme to delegates.

Based on feedback from previous events, the overarching theme for the session will be emerging technologies. Opinions are now being sought on specific topics and questions businesses would like to address.

Estelle Blanks, Deputy Director at the Innovation SuperNetwork which delivers VentureFest, said: “Emerging technologies affect us all and it’s a theme of great interest to local businesses. But we want to know exactly what piques their interest.

“For example, would they like to focus on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, printable electronics, med-tech, 5G or the Internet of Things? These are just a few ideas – we are completely open to suggestions and we will respond by designing specific event content.”

The move has been welcomed by regional business organisations including the FSB. Regional Development Manager Simon Hanson said: “VentureFest North East has always been designed by businesses for businesses. We work closely with the team to shape the entire VentureFest programme according to the needs of our members.

“The fact that the organisers are now going one step further by asking businesses to directly design an element of the event demonstrates how keen they are to reflect the interests of the business community.”

Businesses can suggest topics, vote for those already pitched by others and discuss ideas by visiting until 31 July 2017. This web platform was developed by Open Lab, Newcastle University’s human-computer interaction research group and will allow the event organisers to gather ideas, assess their popularity and use this information to design the People’s Choice session.

VentureFest North East 2017 will be held on 14 November at St James’ Park and is free to attend. The conference is all about bringing together people from different business sectors to learn from each other and use innovation to improve the competitiveness and profitability. Registrations are now open at

VentureFest North East is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with around 50 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. Led by the VentureFest North East team, the SuperNetwork is supported by Innovate UK, the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group and North East BIC, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.