News - 01 April 2015

D2N2 focus on innovation at Venturefest East Midlands 2015

Entrepreneurs, innovators and investors will stream through the doors of the Venturefest East Midlands 2015 event in two weeks’ time – with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership at the heart of the action.

Around 1,000 innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and business people are expected to attend the free Venturefest East Midlands 2015 event at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park, Beeston Lane, Nottingham (NG7 2RJ); from 9am to 5pm on Tuesday April 14.

The event aims to boost innovation in the region by:

  • putting together innovators and entrepreneurs with exciting new goods, ideas and services together with investors;
  • enabling businesses to share experiences and lessons about what works and what doesn’t;
  • developing a ‘shared culture’ of innovation among East Midlands’ enterprises.

The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership – a partnership of business, higher and further education providers, and local authorities which works to promote economic growth in its area of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire – has placed innovation at the heart of its Strategic Economic Plan.

Innovation Graphic

 Time to Innovate Graphic

A ‘D2N2 Innovation Summit’ in January 2014 led to a consultation with businesses on a Time To Innovate strategy; written by D2N2 university partners Nottingham, Nottingham Trent and Derby. Last month (March) D2N2 formally announced £214million funding from European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) would be made available (up to 2020) to back innovative projects; as well as business development, skills and training, social inclusion, low carbon technologies and broadband connectivity.

Key attractions at the Venturefest East Midlands 2015 event will include:

  • Main speaker Simon Woodroffe; founder of the YO! Sushi and YO! brands, and a former ‘dragon’ on BBC’s Dragon’s Den business programme.
  • Innovation Showcase Expo (from 9:30am-4:30 pm), with a wealth of innovators showing their new goods, services and products.
  • Choosing the winner of a contest using crowdfunding (where a project’s funding is raised online, from many investors pledging different amounts) to give up to £5,000 in match funding to an East Midlands’ small or medium-sized enterprise which has come up with the most innovative, new business idea. The contest, organised by Venturefest East Midlands 2015 and business Crowdfunder in the run up to the event, will be decided with a live ‘app vote’ on the day.

D2N2 is a partner in, and one of the main sponsors of, Venturefest East Midlands 2015.

The Local Enterprise Partnership is hosting a pre-event dinner for invited guests, where D2N2 Chairman Peter Richardson will speak on The Regional Economic Picture.

At the event itself, Peter and David will both speak at a debate (from 9:35am-9:55am) on The Need for Innovation: National and Regional Strategies. Fellow panellists will be Kevin Baughan of InnovateUK and Mandip Rai, Head of Strategy at the neighbouring Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). D2N2 representatives will also help select the winners of the Crowdfunding and Investment Panel ‘Best Pitch’ contests, and be a part of rounding off the 2015 event and launching next year’s Venturefest East Midlands 2016 initiative.

David Ralph, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Chief Executive, said: “D2N2’s mission is to grow the economy and jobs in our area, and as part of that we are actively promoting innovation opportunities for start-up and established businesses, and universities. We have a strategic plan, Time to Innovate, and as of last month the funding in place to deliver its objectives.

“Venturefest East Midlands 2015 will play a key role in energising businesses and the wider community about innovation in the D2N2 area and beyond, and we are proud to be an active partner in this exciting new annual event.”

For more information on Venturefest East Midlands 2015 see website or, for exhibition and sponsorship enquiries, contact Louise Holland at event organisers, Holland Alexander, at 0116 253 3443.

To learn more about D2N2’s work, including how it supports local innovation, see

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