Venturefest Oxford is still going strong after 21 years
When Venturefest Oxford was founded 21 years ago, its main aim was to provide the space and opportunity for budding entrepreneurs and prospective investors to network and collaborate. There was no internet to facilitate networking and only a small number of events and meetings that offered the chance to meet with like-minded people. Who would have thought that now, with the multitude of collaborative tools, facilitated meetings, conferences and events and a staggering increase in the number of entrepreneurs that Venturefest would still have a place!
Well, it is as strong as ever, and the event held in September at Oxford Brookes University proved there is still a demand for an event that brings people together, offering face to face collaborations and instructive and interesting talks and seminars. This year saw 40 speakers and 28 exhibitors – from across a variety of science and technology fields – take part, alongside 28 ‘showcase’ exhibitors who revealed some of their latest developments and commercial opportunities.
Venturefest Board Director and Chief Executive of OxLEP, Nigel Tipple, said, “Never before has science, technology and innovation been more important to both the Oxfordshire and UK economies, particularly following the recent launch of the Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy, which aims to see the county become a top-three global innovation ecosystem by 2040 – with this mind, Venturefest Oxford’s role is increasingly vital.”
Planning is already underway for 2020 and the Board is determined to ensure the event is kept relevant and focused on its core mission of bringing together Oxford’s innovation community. Mike Foster, Executive Chair for the last year, is stepping down due to other commitments and an announcement will be made later about the search for a replacement.
Board Director and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, Alistair Fitt, predicts an exciting year ahead for both Venturefest Oxford and the entrepreneurs and innovators in the County. He said “Venturefest Oxford has carved a very special niche in the hearts of Oxfordshire’s business community. I very much look forward to building an exciting and forward-thinking event in 2020. We’d also like to thank Mike Foster for his contribution this year, and wish him every success in the future.”