Ben Houchen to join pioneering Teesside businesses at VentureFest

Tees Valley’s elected Mayor, Ben Houchen will join established, growing and start-up enterprise at VentureFest Tees Valley on Wednesday 25 September at Middlesbrough Football Club.

Taking place for the fourth time, the region’s business community will come together to tackle the big questions around driving innovation for economic growth.

Speaking about the event, Ben Houchen, said: “From start-ups to scale-ups, Teesside is home to a raft of amazing businesses that are leading the way nationally. Innovation is key to our region’s continuing ability to compete on a global stage, and VentureFest provides a great opportunity for local companies to look at how they can improve their business by doing things differently.”

Providing a setting for connectivity and collaboration around new ideas, the event highlights the innovative work already undertaken within Tees Valley. It also provides a platform for businesses to engage with commercial opportunities through open innovation challenges and secure investment for growth with FinanceCamp.

Sharing their own journey will be local sportswear firm Presca Teamwear. Launched by GRN Sportswear Ltd in 2018, the company strives to create high-performance teamwear from sustainable materials, including recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets. GRN demonstrated the product in 2017 at VentureFest Tees Valley and met with investors as part of FinanceCamp.

Co-founder, Peter Lillie, said: “VentureFest Tees Valley presented us with a number of opportunities, not least to showcase our teamwear and tell our sustainability story. Crucially, we had the chance to meet with investors and make new business connections which have led to us securing investment and taking our business to the next level. As a business event, it offers so much in one day. Feasibly, it would have taken weeks to make the same connections and introductions if we were reaching out individually. I’d recommend any business looking to access finance, grow their network or diversify their market to attend in 2019.”

More than 330 delegates attended in 2018 at Wynyard Hall. This year’s event will focus on honing the elements attendees felt gave them the most opportunity, with the programme including inspirational speakers, a networking exhibition, investor meetings and open innovation challenges – presenting live commercial opportunities for business.

Peter Riddell, Partnerships Director at ed/ge Innovation Limited, said: “We’ve been delivering VentureFest Tees Valley since 2016, and what stands out is the sheer volume of innovation taking place across the region. But this event isn’t just for businesses already leading the way with innovative products or services. It’s for companies from all sectors and at all stages of growth to look at how adopting innovative practice could transform their productivity, turnover and bottom line.

“We’ve taken on board what delegates really get out of attending the event, and this year we’re focused on ensuring attendees leave with the inspiration, information and connections that could transform their operation.”

VentureFest Tees Valley is a free event and local businesses can secure their place now at

VentureFest Tees Valley is delivered by ed/ge Innovation Limited with support from Teesside University.