Birmingham set to host new SME event » SMEInsider

Birmingham set to host new SME event

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Venturefest, a new exhibition giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet, engage and discuss products with a national audience of investors, launches for the first time in the region this summer.

On Tuesday 30th June at Birmingham’s NEC Arena, small business owners and entrepreneurs can attend the show for free, where they can gain access to a programme of in-depth workshops, seminars and lectures which aim to give SME owners practical advice, ideas, contacts and funding options.

‘‘In setting up an exciting and varied day of learning and networking for regional innovators and entrepreneurs, we have both learned from previous Venturefest events and geared the day to the opportunities and needs in the West Midlands,’’ commented Pam Waddell, director of Birmingham Science City, one of the organisers for Venturefest.

Guest speakers include Sir Peter Rigby, Chairman and Chief Executive of the family-owned portfolio business The Rigby Group. Sir Peter started The Rigby Group in 1975 with £2,000 – today the group turns over £1.8billion.

Dr Ruth McKernan will also be speaking at the event. Ruth was recently named Chief Executive of the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK, which aims to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.

‘‘Delegates should take away a host of new contacts with potential collaborators, customers, investors and support organisations as well as lots of new advice and ideas,’’ continued Waddell.

The location for this year’s Venturefest is symbolic. SME Insider reported on a new study which revealed SME owners’ desire for small businesses to become less London-centric.

If there was to be another SME hub outside of London, small business owners have sounded out two possible locations. Birmingham, who is hosting this year’s event, topped the survey with 27 per cent of applicants preferring the Midlands, whereas 26 per cent of applicants chose Manchester as their favourite site.