Dr David Hardman, Chair of Venturefest West Midlands and CEx of Innovation Birmingham, opened the fifth VenturefestWM in a room full of likeminded innovators by posing his first question “why do we innovate?” As the audience pondered, he went on to highlight the need for focus to be on innovation, in 2019 more than ever, due to the economic and political uncertainty that BREXIT brings, and in a world of accelerating change. We don’t know what we don’t know, but VenturefestWM is a great annual opportunity to talk, listen and share insights and ideas. And what better place to get our creative juices flowing than VenturefestWM 2019? He labelled it as the “best program yet”, a space to create new relationships and interconnectivity which ultimately lead to investment and alliances that can dominate the West Midlands innovation landscape. 

Almost 400 people attended on the day. The figures show a great mix of participants from across the innovation ecosystem and it was great to see so many new faces attending alongside those that have been to Venturefest in previous years. Most notably, Pitchfest goes from strength to strength which we are thrilled to hear so much positive feedback over.

Feedback on the content and networking opportunities at VenturefestWM 2019, via our survey and informally to the organisers, was overwhelmingly positive as it has been in the previous five years.

Of course, no event is perfect, and the VenturefestWM Steering Group will look at all the feedback and learn when it starts to plan for next year. And next year will be a different year, with a changed political landscape and innovation environment, so we will adapt again to the needs of the day. But we are in no doubt that the innovators, investors and entrepreneurs of the West Midlands want VenturefestWM to continue as an annual showcase and meeting place for innovation and entrepreneurship, so we intend to be back in 2020!

Don’t take our word for it, see for yourselves and hear what some of the exhibitors at VenturefestWM 2019 had to say on the day…

If you are inspired to be part of this exciting and important event on the West Midlands innovation calendar, whether you would like to exhibit, sponsor, speak or contribute in any way to making VenturefestWM 2020 even bigger and better, please get in touch.

(Author: Mishaal Bhurgri, University of Warwick. Co Author: Pam Waddell, IAWM)