Free innovation event aims to inspire Bedford businesses

Bedford business owners can find inspiration as well as insights on seeking investment at a three-day innovation conference taking place this month.

The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership has teamed up with the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to bring the free Innovate Local conference to local businesses
The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership has teamed up with the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to bring the free Innovate Local conference to local businesses

The virtual Innovate Local event kicks off at 9.30am on Tuesday, 26 January, with the chance to hear more from innovation experts about funding, finance options and connections to keep the region’s businesses profiting from innovation.

Click here for more information and to sign up for your free place.

The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) has teamed up with the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to bring the free Innovate Local conference to businesses in Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire.

This event offers entrepreneurs, businesses and support agencies the chance to connect to Innovate UK, universities and business support providers, as well as like-minded business owners and colleagues through a series of panel discussions, workshops and online networking sessions. You’ll hear about the very best of British research and development, finance options and collaboration opportunities.

100 people have already signed up to join in online – with the added bonus that participants can join in as they please for the sessions over three days.

Speakers will include Roz Bird, commercial director for Silverstone Technology Park, on national and local strategies to support technology-led innovative companies and why the South East Midlands is perfectly placed to profit from innovation.

The line-up also includes Kieron Salter, from ground-breaking engineering solutions provider KW Special Projects and Chief Executive of a new Digital Manufacturing Centre, and Jenny Murray, managing director of the Life Science Group; there will also be speakers from the region's four universities discussing how to work with their institutions to commercialise new knowledge and take to market new products and services.

You can also visit the virtual exhibition hall to find out more about the innovation support available, have one-to-one consultations and virtually network with other delegates; exhibitors include Biztech, Eagle Lab, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership and Medilink.

SEMLEP’s Board Member David Bailey, one of the key note speakers, said: “In the context of 2021, our businesses are tackling multiple challenges which can each make or break their decisions to invest in innovation. Combine these with the internal business pressures entrepreneurs grapple with, such as business forecasting and planning for long-term R&D, cashflow difficulties enhanced when under pressure and, more generally, access to finance for innovation.

“Our area’s high technology sectors have proved their resilience and adaptability over the past year. We suspect though, that R&D suffered during the 2008 economic crisis so, we must ensure that innovation excellence is not set back because of this downturn.

“This is exactly why SEMLEP works collaboratively with Innovate UK and KTN. We urge all SME and growth industries to engage as we can provide positive and proactive support, networking and collaboration opportunities as well as access to funding.”

He added that recent shifts in major government policies that impact the innovation ecosystem can spell many opportunities for the region, such as the commitment to reach net zero carbon and sustainability targets as set out in the government’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution. To increase the opportunity for innovation, everything must be done to help ease the risks for businesses making the decision to invest.

And that’s where SEMLEP can help. Register for your free place here.

To find out more about SEMLEP, and the support available to local businesses , visit www.semlepgrowthhub.com.