Designing the conference

Local businesses and innovation experts are being invited to help shape content for this year’s VentureFest North East, using EventMovement. The free online platform, developed by digital civics researchers at Newcastle University, allows communities to propose, design and plan events, and is now being used to put delegates in control of a new People’s Choice part of the VentureFest North East programme.

Each autumn the regional innovation conference gathers together hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to explore current issues and new ideas relating to innovation with a range of leading experts.

Based on feedback from previous events, the overarching theme for the session will be emerging technologies. Opinions are now being sought on specific topics and questions businesses would like to address.

Estelle Blanks, Deputy Director at the Innovation SuperNetwork which delivers VentureFest, said: “Emerging technologies affect us all and it’s a theme of great interest to local businesses. But we want to know exactly what piques their interest.

“For example, would they like to focus on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, printable electronics, med-tech, 5G or the Internet of Things? These are just a few ideas – we are completely open to suggestions and we will respond by designing specific event content.”

The move has been welcomed by regional business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses. Regional Development Manager Simon Hanson said: “VentureFest North East has always been designed by businesses for businesses. We work closely with the team to shape the entire VentureFest programme according to the needs of our members.

“The fact that the organisers are now going one step further by asking businesses to directly design an element of the event demonstrates how keen they are to reflect the interests of the business community.”

Businesses can suggest topics, vote for those already pitched by others and discuss ideas by visiting until 31 July 2017. This web platform will allow the event organisers to gather ideas, assess their popularity and use this information to design the People’s Choice session.

VentureFest North East 2017 will be held on 14 November at St James’ Park and is free to attend. The conference is all about bringing together people from different business sectors to learn from each other and use innovation to improve the competitiveness and profitability. Registrations are now open at

For more information about EventMovement, please contact Dan Lambton-Howard.

For more information about VentureFest North East please contact Innovation SuperNetwork Communications Manager Laura White on email: or telephone 07739 126152.

Author: Dan Lambton-Howard

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