The reason it exists is to develope the region's reputation as one of the most vibrant hubs for innovation in the UK. Our goal is to inspire more great innovators and businesses to make the south their home and to create an environment for success through innovation. The way we do it is by bringing together interesting people in interesting ways. Players covering all sectors and a plethora of organisations, individuals and groups combine to create the perfect environment in which new ideas and innovations become world-leading businesses and solutions. VFS provides a platform to showcase and empower innovators across the region which translates into economic growth.
If you’d like to get involved in Venturefest South or you want to know more about what it is you can check out the Venturefest South website here.
If you are interested in creating and developing programmes and events like this for your own organisation you can get in touch with our team today who can help.
In 2016, Carswell Gould, along with a group made up of business, education and government started the journey to make VFS a reality. VFS was made possible by these early stage ‘angel investors’. We formed a board led by Chris Allington ex CEO of Oxford Innovation, which included representatives from; University of Southampton, University of Portsmouth, Southampton Solent University, Enterprise M3 LEP, Solent LEP, Carswell Gould, Oxford Innovation, Dorset Growth Hub, Bournemouth City Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council.
Together this board funds and drives the programme, investing time, money and effort to celebrate and empower the VFS activities. VFS was the first Venturefest (a group of funded government programs) to self fund its activities and is now considered a great example of regional collaboration for shared growth.
The program has grown year on year and despite suffering challenges including ‘The Beast from the East’, Brexit and Covid-19, the appetite to see more VFS events continues to grow. The board has changed somewhat since those early days and we are now proud to partner with DSTL and BAE which are significant funders and contributors to the programme, its content and the showcase events.
The programme has been a huge success and is considered a key driver of long-term economic value for our region. It’s a massive cross-sector network full of incredible people, ideas and opportunities, which is why we are growing every year and attracting more and more interest.
For full information on who is involved at right now head over to the main website and look at the partners and sponsors page here.
Since Venturefest South began, more than 6,000 people have got involved and the most recent one-day annual showcase event boasted some big numbers:
The VFS program has achieved great outcomes for its innovation, its sponsors and the region as a whole and in 2019 it won the ‘Best Event’ category at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) PRide Awards. You can read more about this here.
We are a partner that sits on the board and funds activity. However, we also now wear the hats of organists and drivers. Working with the delivery team, Ed Gould and team help shape and deliver the VFS annual showcase and in addition supporting the promotion of partner led ‘Rumble Events’.
The team has created a “kick-ass event” full of fantastic speakers, insightful workshops and unique experiences. They also help coordinate marketing communications around the events and support the programme with PR, social media, email marketing, design, web development and content to increase ticket sales and raise Venturefest South’s profile.
You can get involved with Venturefest South through sponsorship, by attending the next annual showcase on 21 October 2021, or by using a similar idea in your own commercial events. Get in touch if you’d like to explore how we can help you deliver a great event to your audiences.