Twelve businesses have been shortlisted for the prestigious Innovation Showcase Competition at Venturefest North West 2018.
Now in its fifth year, the contest was open to small and medium-sized businesses from across the North West and attracted a record 173 entrants competing for four awards: Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation and Innovative Established Business. There’s also an Overall Winner and Audience Winner, which will be chosen by attendees after the finalists make their pitches at the Manchester Central event on Thursday 13 September.
Each award comes with thousands of pounds worth of business support for the winner, provided by organisers GC Business Growth Hub and its partners. The competition is one of the highlights of the Venturefest North West 2018 programme, sponsored by NatWest, Dehns, Manchester Metropolitan University and Pomegranate Consulting.
A full programme includes keynote speeches from Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, and Richard Noble OBE, project director of the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car project, which will attempt to break the land speed record next year.
Speaking about the importance of innovation to businesses, Richard Noble commented: “President Kennedy said of the Apollo moon programme, ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills.’ Like the US in the 1960s we need technical successes for the UK and our 2019 Bloodhound record challenge will be a big one.
“Nothing about the Bloodhound project is easy and it never will be, but success here will bring great rewards in terms of education and confidence. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my learnings and experiences, as innovation is something that should apply to all businesses, large or small, in the north-west and across the country.”
More than 1,000 attendees are expected at the event, where they will have access to business leaders and entrepreneurs, potential new partners, collaboration opportunities and a wide range of support.
Heather Waters, National Enterprise Manager at headline sponsor NatWest, said: “We know that entrepreneurs and small business owners are looking for more than a provider of financial services. They want a bank that helps them to concentrate on what’s important to them – establishing and growing their business.
“That’s why we’re delighted to support Venturefest North West 2018 and be part of an event which gives businesses in the region the opportunity to innovate, grow and access the knowledge, finance and expertise they need to progress to the next stage of their business journey.”
The full Innovation Showcase Competition shortlist is as follows:
Product Innovation finalists:
- Radic8 – This Bolton-based independent air purification company has created INBair O2, the world’s first recreational oxygen purifier, delivering 40% more oxygen through a sleek headset.
- Reach and Rescue – This Wigan-based manufacturer produces long reach telescopic poles and other associated equipment for use in rescue missions.
- Redman Racing – A Chester-based organisation that uses the latest scientific research and technology to manufacture racing shells, oars and other equipment for competition rowing.
Service Innovation finalists:
- Clyz Labs – This laboratory based in Macclesfield uses technological innovation to improve the quality of life and survival of cancer patients through personalised clinical and pre-clinical cancer therapies.
- Million Stars Sustainable – This Liverpool-based company has a five-year plan to eradicate 23,000 tonnes of waste from UK festivals by recovering and reusing it.
- Urban Chain – This Trafford organisation created a blockchain-based platform to link consumers directly to energy generators and facilitates, switching to the best deal in almost real-time.
Digital Innovation finalists:
- Brain in Hand – Working out of Hulme, this organisation has created a mobile application to provide personalised mental health strategies.
- Call Me Help – This Stockport-based company has developed a well-being monitor for elderly people who live alone, that analyses their activity levels based on their electricity usage and alerts a designated guardian.
- Corporation Pop – This Manchester company has created the Xploro mobile app, which uses augmented to prepare children for going into hospital, reducing their stress and anxiety.
Innovative Established Business finalists:
- Fulfilment Crowd – This Chorley-based firm provides fulfilment technology to help with the picking and packing of orders across the UK.
- Telcom – This Manchester firm has developed Node, a secure, supplier agnostic telecommunications point of presence for buildings, giving the best connectivity solution for both landlords and tenants.
- Whitham Mills Engineering – Based in Middleton, this manufacturing company has come up with a food waste tipping solution that uses a state-of-the-art hydraulic system to reduce cost and downtime.
To see the full programme and register for the event and breakout sessions, go to www.venturefestnorthwest.com.
Venturefest North West 2018 and the Innovation Showcase competition are both being run by GC Business Growth Hub. These and other GC Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit www.businessgrowthhub.com for more information about the organisation’s extensive range of services.