Countdown toVenturefest gets under way

TWO competitions that have flagged up some of the region’s most promising young science and technology businesses open again this week.

The Venturefest Yorkshire Innovation Showcase and Investment Competitions return as part of the tenth annual Venturefest event in February next year.

Applications open at venturefestyorkshire.net this week and then bosses at SCY (formerly Science City York) will whittle entries down to a shortlist of 20 of the region’s most promising innovative young science and technology companies.

The businesses will be awarded heavily subsidised exhibition space in the Innovation Showcase at Venturefest Yorkshire.

The company with most promise will receive more than £15,000 worth of business support to help it move forward.

Six further entrepreneurs will be chosen by the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels (YABA) to present in the Investment Competition and pitch their business or idea to a group of angel investors who will question the finalists on their proposition. The winner will be awarded a prize package of more than £30,000.

Tony Hardy, chairman of Venturefest Yorkshire, said: “Over the last decade, Venturefest has supported more than 200 young science and technology businesses, helped create an estimated 1,287 jobs in the region, and generated almost £28 million for the regional economy.

“In turbulent economic times that support becomes even more important, and our aim is to make the tenth event our best yet by honing our focus on science and technology entrepreneurs and creating an environment in which they have multiple opportunities to access advice, support, knowledge and funding.”

One young business, Distant Future Animation Studio in Bradford, puts winning its first London client down to being part of the Venturefest Innovation Showcase.

In only two years, the company has gone from a one-man band to a six-strong team of creative animation and visual effects specialists producing work for organisations including Mercedes and RBS.

Aptamer Solutions, winner of the Investment Competition last year, has since moved to new premises in York and has secured two rounds of funding from the Technology Strategy Board.

Mr Hardy added: “Venturefest creates opportunities. We are looking forward to celebrating some of those success stories at our tenth event in February next year – and to see new ones being created.”

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