The Oxford Times: Entrepreneurs gather after Brexit at Venturefest
MORE than 1,000 business delegates got the chance to network and promote new ideas in the wake of Brexit at a conference in Oxford.
This year's Venturefest, the 18th, was the biggest yet, and was held for the first time at the King's Centre in Osney Mead after switching from the Said Business School.
Lord Willetts, former minister for universities and science, chaired a panel on the implications of Britain leaving the European Union.
Venturefest executive chairwoman Lynn Shepherd said:
Businesses have to be innovative and turn Brexit into an opportunity. Oxfordshire itself voted overwhelmingly to Remain, so the result of the referendum has come as a shock to the business community. Venturefest is a good opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to meet and talk and try to find new opportunities because they are resilient and flexible. Businesses need to be pro-active and keep the conversations going with each other.
Among those with eye-catching displays were Cognitive Robotics researchers from Oxford Brookes University's computing and communication technologies department.
Research student Brenda Romino, 23, showed off Robbie the robot and said:
We are trying to make Robbie smarter so that one day he could be used for tasks around the home like loading the dishwasher.
Mrs Shepherd said the King's Centre worked well as a venue for Venturefest and hoped it would return there next year.
As part of this year's event 13 businesses, including Bicester-based electric motorcycle developer Meteor Power, competed for the attention of potential investors after taking part in Pitchfest.
Director Mark Edwards said:
Venturefest is a brilliant opportunity for us to try to attract investment.
Medical imaging firm Adaptix, from Begbroke, won the Oxford Trust 2016 Enterprise Award for innovation, which recognises achievement across life sciences.
The Oxford Trust was founded in 1985 by entrepreneurs Sir Martin and Audrey, Lady Wood.
Adaptix chief executive officer Mark Evans said:
We are delighted to be recognised by the Woods who transformed medical imaging and contributed so much to science and understanding across Oxfordshire. Venturefest is leading on bringing people together in the business community and there is much more cohesion and co-operation as a result.
TechTonic, a new network is being launched for entrepreneurial and aspirational women in the technology sector.
The network was the idea of Nicola McConville, a corporate lawyer specialising in the technology sector and a partner at Penningtons Manches. She said:
We got lots of feedback so we can launch TechTonic properly in October.
Independent cyber security expert Oscar O'Connor, who is based at Oxford Science Park, advised businesses on what precautions to take. He said:
Losing data through security breaches can potentially put you out of business. Increasingly the breaches are malicious and have a financial impact and an impact on a firm's reputation.
A transfer of knowledge to industry is a good thing: One purpose of a university is to benefit society by disseminating knowledge, and one way this can be done is by commercialising research. Universities and research institutions are a dynamo for entrepreneurship, and for innovation in large companies. READ MORE
When it comes to the commercial success of a technology-led product, there are a number of factors that come into play along the development journey. Have the regulatory requirements been met? Can the design be produced at a viable cost? Is it possible to ensure the quality of the manufacturing process? The list goes on. READ MORE
Microfluidics is a key technology enabling the development of rapid in-vitro diagnostics (IVD). With applications including COVID-19 testing, cardiac arrest assessment and STD screening, decentralised rapid diagnostics are shaping up to be a major part of the future of healthcare and wellness monitoring. READ MORE