iFestival bursts into life

Luke Johnson, Chair of Channel 4 with Vonny Shelley and Sue Amphlett2009’s innovation Festival (iFestival) burst into life with more than 170 businesspeople from across the region attending the innovation EXPO (iEXPO) to hear high profile speakers, get help with business ideas and compete for £10,000 worth of innovation support services in a Last Business Standing competition.

Delegates heard from a series of speakers at the East Midlands Conference Centre on 10 March, including Luke Johnson, Chairman of Channel 4 and Risk Capital Partners and had the opportunity to meet funding and grant providers who were on hand to outline the support services available to businesses.

The iEXPO, sponsored by Pera, was the opening attraction of this year’s iFestival, a six-week celebration across the East Midlands featuring more than 150 events, funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) with support from East Midlands Innovation (the Regional Science and Industry Council).

A medieval marketplace set the scene for the Last Business Standing competition. Created by Nottingham Trent University Theatre Design graduates, the backdrops, street entertainers and music created a fun and informal environment for participants to pitch their business ideas to an independent panel of judges and advisors.

Piccy Products Ltd from Nottingham, who presented their idea dressed in medieval costume, won £10,000 worth of innovation support services that will be used to assist with their plans to produce children’s tableware to encourage healthy eating.

Speaking at the event, Mike Carr Executive Director of Business Services at emda said: “emda is spearheading economic development in the East Midlands - to help ensure that the region achieves its full potential. The iFestival is one part of a larger innovation strategy that aims to showcase the talents of the region and boost our innovation performance.

There is much evidence to show companies willing to embrace change and new ideas grow faster and are more profitable and sustainable than their less innovative counterparts. In the current climate the public sector has significantly increased the support that is available to business, their success is absolutely essential to the future economic prosperity of our region.

For more information about the iFestival and events taking place in the region visit www.eminnovation.org.uk

Pictured in the above image are Luke Johnson, Chair of Channel 4 with Vonny Shelley
and Sue Amphlett, Piccy Products Ltd with Mike Carr, emda