Venturefest South, an inaugural event for innovators, entrepreneurs and investors from across the South, has been announced for 2017.

The Venturefest South event will bring together top talent from the region to demonstrate technologies and innovations, allow start-ups to pitch for investment, and match entrepreneurs with the right organisations to take their businesses to the next level.

Irwin Mitchell is headline sponsor of the event and commenting on why the national law firm chose to get involved, Irwin Mitchell’s business legal services division CEO, Vicky Brackett, said:

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“Our involvement with Venturefest South reflects our belief that business ideas will lead to increased economic growth and that entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy.

“It is vitally important that the ideas and the people who have created them get off to the best possible start and we believe that Venturefest South can play a big part in helping entrepreneurs take their ventures forward by meeting the right advisers, investors and funders.”

Held on 9th March at Winchester Guildhall, the 1-day event will feature keynote speakers from the likes of Uber and Innovate UK, as well as seminars from successful entrepreneurs who have been there and done it all.

There are opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs and investors to take part in the following:

  • Investor pitching sessions: open to entrepreneurs and innovators with a fully-formed business idea to pitch, as well as to investors to sit in and find the next big investment opportunity
  • Innovation zone: open to start-ups and businesses with an innovative product or service to demonstrate
  • One to one sessions: open to all groups, to share thinking and explore new ideas
  • Open mic pitching sessions: open to fresh, early-stage businesses to practice their pitch and gain experience, and potentially win a start-up package including incubation space, legal and marketing support

Attendees will also be able to hear from experts who will be giving keynote speeches, leading seminars and taking part in a panel debate.

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Venturefest South has been developed by a group of founding partners within the regional innovation economy: Carswell Gould, Enterprise M3 LEP, Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, Oxford Innovation, Solent LEP, Southampton Solent University, the University of Portsmouth and the University of Southampton, with the event managed by delivery partner Business South.

Venturefest South chair Chris Allington, managing director at Oxford Innovation, said:

“Bringing innovators, investors and entrepreneurs together is a vital component to strengthening our regional economy and the businesses within it. I am excited by the prospect that Venturefest South will become a focal point to accelerate, through innovation, the translation of business ideas into stronger businesses with the confidence and products to open up UK and global markets.

“This will be the first Venturefest in the UK that is run and funded solely by the innovation community and our valued sponsors. I’m personally delighted that this initiative has come together and want to take this opportunity to thank the founding partners for developing and supporting this shared vision.”

Venturefest South is part of the wider Venturefest network, which works nationally to draw local innovation eco-systems together through a number of local events around the country, working closely with the Knowledge Transfer Network, Innovate UK and other national partners.

Tickets are available at:

To find out more and to apply to take part in any of the pitching sessions, or to showcase an innovation in the exhibition, visit

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