New mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has been named as the keynote speaker for this year’s Venturefest West Midlands to be held at the NEC Birmingham on the 27th June.
Venturefest West Midlands is a free, one-day event aimed at supporting business growth through innovation. It will bring together up to 1,000 entrepreneurs, innovators and investors with specific innovation expertise. The event will also see over 30 companies exhibiting to showcase the support and services on offer in the region for new and growing businesses.
Andy Street was elected in May 2017 as the first West Midlands Mayor, marking a significant transfer of powers from Whitehall to the region. Former John Lewis boss, Andy now chairs the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and its cabinet of the seven West Midlands council leaders. Andy was also previously Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, so has a track record in working with partners across the private, public, academic and voluntary sectors to increase economic growth and improve the well-being of residents, which he will now undertake across the whole West Midlands region.
In his keynote address, Andy will explore the contribution Innovation can make to driving up productivity and reforming public services in the West Midlands, cornerstones of the WMCA Strategic Economic Plan. The West Midlands region is already renowned for its innovation, but we can make it work harder for us. Andy will introduce the newly completed West Midlands Science and Innovation Audit that identifies the market strengths, enabling competencies and ecosystem factors we need to focus on to best exploit our science and innovation assets.
Andy said, “The West Midlands region is already renowned for its science and innovation, but we can make it work harder for us to help deliver higher productivity and better services across the West Midlands. Venturefest West Midlands is a unique event that stimulates new partnerships, investments and approaches across our innovation ecosystem by brings together innovators, investors and entrepreneurs.”
Innovate UK’s Regional Manager West Midlands, Dr. Peter Dirken added, “Venturefest West Midlands will be a showcase for the very best innovation, bringing together innovators, investors and entrepreneurs, with a wide range of business support and advice organisations. We are delighted Andy Street, new West Midlands metro-mayor, will have a prominent role in the event as keynote speaker. We know he is a strong supporter of innovation and we will work with him and his team to drive West Midlands innovation forward.”
The free event will have a packed programme delivered by our expert partners covering topics such as business scale up, innovation, intellectual property, innovation, as well as, accessing early-stage and growth investment.
Venturefest will also see finalists of Pitchfest, an investment competition taking place as part of the event, given the opportunity to raise their profiles and pitch to a panel of leading investors and industry experts for a £1,000 prize and chance for direct investment.