Entrepreneurs and innovators from across the West Midlands will have a unique opportunity to develop and grow their businesses by meeting with potential investors and other cutting-edge companies at a free event this spring.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is sponsoring and co-hosting Venturefest WM 2022 to put growth businesses with investors who have specific expertise in innovation.

Venturefest offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to share ideas for co-operation and collaboration, particularly in the fields of science and emerging technologies.

The event is being led by the WMCA and Innovation Alliance WM, working with local enterprise partnerships, universities and Bruntwood, a leading property provider to the science and tech sector.

Venturefest will take place on Thursday March 24 at the Eastside Rooms, Woodcock Street, Birmingham B7 4BL, from 8:30am to 5pm. Places can be booked at https://venturefestwm-2022.eventbrite.co.uk

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “We all know the impact the pandemic has had on our region’s economy and on people’s jobs and livelihoods.
“That’s why it’s vital we help our innovative companies operating in high growth sectors to develop and expand their business, bringing additional knowledge, investment, and of course jobs to the West Midlands. Venturefest is a great example of how we are working with our partners to do exactly that and get people back into work as part of my 100,000 jobs plan.”

Cllr Ian Brookfield, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and WMCA portfolio holder for the economy and innovation, added: “Science and emerging technologies are critical to the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic. I would encourage all local entrepreneurs and innovators in these sectors who are seeking to grow their business to register now for the event.”

The Venturefest WM 2022 programme will include keynote speakers from a range of sectors including David Darling, founder of video game companies Codemasters and Kwalee and Emma Jones, CEO of Enterprise Nation. There will also be panel discussions, workshops and an exhibition of innovative businesses and support for innovative businesses.

Running alongside the event will be Minerva Birmingham Pitch Up, which is a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition enabling businesses to raise their profile both in the West Midlands and in front of a national audience of investors. Business owners are invited to present their ideas in a pitch for investment.

Venturefest is being backed by several key sponsors including the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Ryan Cartwright, senior manager, UK network at British Business Bank, which delivers the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, said: “A key objective for MEIF is about unlocking economic growth for innovative start-ups and supporting a diverse range of businesses. That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting Venturefest this year as partners come together to help unlock the potential of the region’s entrepreneurs.”

To date, Minerva Birmingham Pitch Up – which is run by the Centre for Growth at Aston University, BizzInn at the University of Birmingham and Minerva at the University of Warwick Science Park – has put 90 entrepreneurs directly in front of investors and helped bring more than £2.75 million of investment to the region’s small businesses.

David Hardman, chair of Venturefest WM 2022, said: ““This is a fantastic event that will again bring together many of the key regional players to promote innovation, growth and prosperity for our local entrepreneurs.”

For more information about Venturefest WM 2022, visit https://www.venturefestwm.co.uk/