Technology under the spotlight at Venturefest East event in Newmarket
- Credit: Gregg Brown
More than 800 innovators, investors and entrepreneurs gathered in Newmarket to showcase what the region’s technology sector has to offer.
Venturefest East, the first event of its kind, brought together technology leaders and firms from Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire at Rowley Mile Racecourse to celebrate innovators across the counties.
They were there to see dozens of exhibitors, listen to industry leaders at a conference event, and watch 12 innovators take part in a Fast and Furious pitch-off with a top prize of 1000 Guineas (£1,050) and a trophy.
There were 76 exhibitors, a third of which were seeking investment. Ruth Kiernon, chief executive of Innovate UK, delivered the keynote speech.
Neil Garner, vice chair of TechEast and founder of Whitespace Norwich said he was “really impressed” with the turnout for the inaugural event, and the quality of the businesses exhibiting.
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“I think Venturefest East provides further evidence of the burgeoning tech sector across the East of England,” he added.
The Venturefest Network was launched in 2014 to translate innovations into economic growth. Venturefest East was produced by Innovate UK, The Knowledge Transfer Network, St John’s Innovation Centre, and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships. Lead sponsors were the University of East Anglia, ENGIE and BT.
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Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “The East of England is full of innovation, entrepreneurship and ideas, all of which come together so brilliantly.
“The energy and collaboration generated at Venturefest East are certain to result in more jobs and increased growth, and there can be no better showcase of our region to the world.”
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, minister for life sciences, said East Anglia had the potential to be “the new California”.
Deputy leader of the House of Commons and MP for Suffolk Coastal Thérèse Coffey said: “The emerging tech clusters of Ipswich and Norwich alongside the more established one of Cambridge means we really do have a golden triangle.”