Venturefest South launches milestone year with dynamic new partnerships to showcase innovation

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Venturefest South (VFS), the fastest-growing innovation and business growth programme in the South, has launched its milestone 8th year with influential new partners to elevate VFS24 to unprecedented heights.

New this year will be an exciting series of ‘Rumble Events’, focusing on topics including as funding, investment and IP protection, to be held at partner venues in the run-up to the grand showcase event on 14th November at the Utilita Bowl in Southampton. The 2024 programme also welcomes new partners including; Arts University Bournemouth, Blake Morgan, Barclays Eagle Labs, Openshaw & Co., National Biofilms Innovation Centre and National Oceanography Centre. Mark Hamson, Innovation Centre Manager at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) said:“Innovation is key to what we do at NOC and we’re looking forward to working with Venturefest South to reach more businesses and individuals that can help turn great science and technology into advice and applications.” They join an impressive line-up of existing partners including DSTL, South Hampshire College Group, Carswell Gould, University of Winchester, University of Southampton, University of Portsmouth, British Business Bank, and Solent Partners. Dan Cox, Arts University Bournemouth said: “Bringing so many voices from different sectors this year is powerful and it’s so great to be partnering with people who want to do something and make a difference. We’re excited to bring something new to the partnership by hosting Rumble Events that focus on the key themes driving innovation in the South, and also by bringing our students and business partners to the showcase event in November.” Venturefest South is a collaboration between government, education, and business to foster growth and innovation. This year’s programme began with a partnership meeting hosted by Barclays Eagle Labs in Southampton, where the new leadership team discussed regional issues and opportunities. Mark Rands, Barclays Eagle Labs said: "We are excited to be sponsoring Venturefest South this year and are really looking forward to the programme ahead". Since its inception, VFS has supported more than 8,000 entrepreneurs with funded or free resources, and a platform to showcase their innovative businesses. This not-for-profit programme nurtures, celebrates and promote the South’s powerful innovation ecosystem. The VFS team announced that applications for innovators are open and are now inviting innovators and businesses from across the South to be part of this year’s programme: “If you are an entrepreneur, business, startup or scaling business that wants to be part of and benefit from the Venturefest South network, we’d love to hear from you.” Successful applications can win a spot in the showcase and will have the opportunity to access funding, receive support, and connect to new opportunities while, at the same time, being part of the South’s biggest showcase of innovation. Jeremy Webb, National Biofilms Innovation Centre: “We are extremely pleased to be part of VFS, as new partners we are excited to see growth in collaboration across the region. There is significant strength and potential in our regional innovation ecosystem, which is demonstrated by the success of VFS to date. I'm immensely proud to be part of such a great group.” Tim Beere, Openshaw & Co., added: “As new partners, we are very excited to be able to share our extensive Intellectual Property expertise with such a prestigious organisation as VFS and we look forward to contributing to its continued success and growth. IP is central to successful innovation and commercialisation; this partnership represents a fantastic opportunity to support and engage with the vibrant and diverse innovation community in the South.” Rebecca Whitehead, Blake Morgan said: “Blake Morgan is thrilled to be playing a bigger part in the Venturefest South programme this year. As one of the largest full-service law firms in the Central South, we work with many businesses on their journey from startup through to merger, acquisition and sale, supporting them in achieving their goals. We see the many challenges faced by young high-growth businesses and we’re keen to add value to the Venturefest community and help give those business the best possible start and advice.” Visit and discover more at: