After 23 years of successful operation, Venturefest Oxford is entering a new era. Over this period, the Oxfordshire innovation ecosystem has grown hugely, and we now think it is too big and too complex to bring together all the key players around one annual, all-encompassing event. What’s more, there are many other organisations, institutions and places across the region that are convening clusters and delivering high quality events which also offer networking opportunities, thought leadership and discussion. After careful consideration, we have decided to draw to a close Venturefest Oxford’s annual innovation-focused conference. With this change, the company, Venturefest Oxford Ltd, which has been responsible for the curation and delivery of the annual event, since its inception in 1999, will also close.
Venturefest Oxford’s legacy, brand and records will be passed to The Oxford Trust. The Oxford Trust was instrumental in setting up Venturefest Oxford and is well placed to act as guardian to retain records, ‘corporate memory’ and help guide what comes next. We plan to establish a new think-tank for Oxfordshire, which will convene key opinion leaders and actors from across the region. Initially driven by members of Venturefest Board, it will then be passed to another organisation to run. Meeting twice a year, this new group will assess the state of Oxfordshire’s innovation landscape and will undertake horizon scanning activities to shape a clear narrative around Oxfordshire’s offer in science, technology and commercialisation of ideas.
This report – The Future of Venturefest Oxford – sets out the background and work that has led to these decisions and changes. The individuals who make up the current board of Venturefest Oxford are united in our determination to support Oxfordshire as a centre of excellence for the knowledge economy. Although we will no longer operate as a company management board, we will continue to offer our knowledge, expertise and connections to deliver an exciting legacy for Venturefest Oxford. Further details of the plans for the think-tank will follow.
The Venturefest Oxford Ltd board, January 2023