If you run a company in Liverpool City Region and innovative ideas are at the heart of it, Venturefest North West 2018 is the place for you. And if they’re not, it’s a great place to start. The event, which is being held at Manchester Central on Thursday 13 September, provides a unique networking platform for companies across the North West. John Whaling, Innovation & Strategic Investment Lead at the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “VentureFest North West is about celebrating the innovative businesses and entrepreneurs across the North West. It is a fantastic opportunity for Liverpool City Region businesses to get involved and showcase their products and services, meet other like-minded business and make the right connections to grow.” Promising inspirational speakers and interactive workshops the event in its fifth year and is set to be the biggest yet with an expanded regional focus. One of the centrepieces is the Innovation Showcase Competition, open to start-up and young companies, as well as established businesses, with online entries open now at the Venturefest North West website. Ten finalists will have the chance to pitch their business idea to an audience of potential investors and win a package of support provided by sponsors exhibitors and the professional community. There are four categories to enter – Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation and Innovative Established Business – as well as an Overall Winner, and a Venturefest Audience Winner. One of last year’s winners was Manchester-based Beatstream Media, which has developed a live music streaming mobile app and counts former Inspiral Carpets keyboardist and DJ Clint Boon as its Director of Music. Co-founder Helen Fish said: “Venturefest gave us a platform to showcase the business we believe in and are so passionate about. Winning the competition was instrumental in our successful raising of investment, and the support of our local Growth Hub in Manchester has been integral to our growth leading to our very exciting upcoming launch.” John Whaling added: “I would encourage businesses across the Liverpool City Region to enter the Innovation Showcase Competition – this is a great way to promote your latest innovative business ideas to an audience of potential customers, partners and investors.” You can register your attendance or enter the Innovation Showcase Competition at www.venturefestnorthwest.com, and keep your eyes peeled for further announcements, on speakers, or to find out how to become an exhibitor. Venturefest North West is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is developed and run by GC Business Growth Hub in Manchester, working in partnership with the Regions Growth Hubs, with the aim of helping ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment.