More than 4,000 visitors are expected to attend Innovate UK this week, a new multi-sector networking event organised by the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade & Investment.
This year’s Innovate UK event, held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, combines the Innovate and TechWorld events, which are set up to help tech companies identify new investment, international trade, innovation and collaboration opportunities through networking.
In addition to keynote presentations from Business Secretary Vince Cable and Universities Minister David Willetts, sector-specific seminars and workshop sessions are being held for businesses to learn about new market opportunities and how to access the UK’s research base.
More than 200 forward-thinking innovations are being featured at the event today. Delegates are being given access to developments happening across ares including robotics, high-end material development and the latest work being conducted with graphene in the UK.
“All our exhibitors are specially selected by the Technology Strategy Board and UKTI to feature at the exhibition and are ones that can demonstrate truly innovative products, services or technologies that have been developed here in the UK,” says Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board.
We’re very pleased that so many will be taking part in the event and believe it is a great representation of the UK’s strength in innovative business
The Innovate and TechWorld events have in the past been successful events for the tech industry, with more than £70m worth of UK trade generated over the last two years as a direct result of the event, as Nick Baird, chief executive of UKTI, explains.
“Over the last two years, 65% of businesses that attended Innovate and TechWorld have identified business opportunities and 77% said they learned something that would help them to innovate. By bringing the events together this week, we hope to deliver even more success for UK business.”
The Technology Strategy Board also launched “Horizons” today, a free digital tool designed to help businesses identify sustainability issues, risks and opportunities.
Horizons hopes to help businesses integrate the sustainability issues into strategy, commercial decisions and innovation through outlining the issues and trends driving the economy. Detailed information on why each issue is important is included in the app, plus links, films and case studies. It is already being used by Coca-Cola, BT and Levi Strauss for their sustainability programmes.
“We can’t predict the details of our future economy, but we do know the trends driving its development – like the rolling IT revolution, climate change, public trust, food security,” says Jonathon Porritt of global sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, which helped develop Horizon.
“These factors shape markets and disrupt business models. Businesses need to address the risk that presents, but crucially, there’s a huge business opportunity there for the taking.”