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Venturefest South – Showcasing the South as a regional powerhouse for innovation

First-ever Venturefest South to be held on March 9th in Winchester

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Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading operator of innovation centres, is among a number of founding partners bringing their extensive experience to the first-ever Venturefest South.

The one-day inaugural event at Winchester Guildhall, Hampshire, on Thursday, March 9th, sees innovators, entrepreneurs and investors gather for the unique occasion.

Venturefest South is run and funded solely by the South’s innovation community and sponsors.

Technologies and innovations will be showcased, with start-ups able to pitch for investment.

Entrepreneurs will be matched with the right organisations to take their ideas forward, with the main aim of generating sales and money down the line.

Venturefest South has been developed by a group of founding partners within the regional innovation economy. Each has contributed £5,000, management time and expertise.

They are Oxford Innovation, Carswell Gould, Enterprise M3 LEP, Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, Solent LEP, Southampton Solent University, the University of Portsmouth and the University of Southampton.

The event is being managed by delivery partner Business South, which is based at Ocean Village Innovation Centre in Southampton, one of Oxford Innovation’s centres.

Opportunities and sessions range from formal pitching sessions, one-to-ones, keynote speakers, innovation exhibition, open-mic pitching and seminars.

Chris Allington is the chairman of Venturefest South and the managing director of Oxford Innovation, which runs 21 innovation centres occupied by more than 1,000 start-ups and small-to-medium businesses.

They include three in Hampshire – Ocean Village Innovation Centre, Portsmouth Technopole and Fareham Innovation Centre.

“We are in the exhilarating age of a new spirit in British innovation. Venturefest South is about helping people with brilliant ideas and commercial promise tap into a network of researchers, investors and business support”

“VentureFest South brings together the innovation community, showing entrepreneurs what they need to do next to get their projects off the ground or accelerating the growth of their business”

Chris added: “Bringing innovators, investors and entrepreneurs together is a vital component to strengthening our regional economy, through the creation of new jobs, and the businesses within it.

“I am excited by the prospect that Venturefest South will become a focal point to accelerate, through innovation, the translation of business ideas into stronger businesses with the confidence and products to open up UK and global markets.

“Crucially, this will be the first Venturefest in the UK that is run and funded solely by the innovation community and our valued sponsors.”

Legal firm Irwin Mitchell is headline sponsor of the event.

Keynote speakers include Uber, the online global transportation company famous for its smartphone-app cabs, and Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, as well as seminars from successful entrepreneurs who have been there and done it all.

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Venturefest South is part of the wider Venturefest network, which works nationally to draw local innovation eco-systems together through a number of local events around the country, working closely with the Knowledge Transfer Network, Innovate UK and other national partners.

Highlights of the event include:

  • Investor pitching sessions – open to entrepreneurs and innovators with a fully-formed business idea to pitch, as well as to investors to sit in and find the next big investment opportunity.
  • An innovation zone – open to start-ups and businesses with an innovative product or service to demonstrate.
  • One-to one-sessions – open to all groups, to share thinking and explore new ideas.
  • Open-mic pitching sessions – open to fresh, early-stage businesses to practice their pitch and gain experience, and potentially win a start-up package including incubation space, legal and marketing support.

Tickets are available at:

To find out more and to apply to take part in any of the pitching sessions, or to showcase an innovation in the exhibition, visit: