30th June 2016

Talking innovation at Venturefest Oxford

Yesterday I attended this year’s Venturefest Oxford – it is a key event in the Oxfordshire business calendar and over the past 18 years has played a key role in the innovation and entrepreneurial landscape of Oxfordshire.  Peter Turfano, Dean of Said Business School set the tone of the day in his opening address when he said that Oxford and its surrounding region is a vibrant and fertile place for entrepreneurs.  He went onto talk about following the events of the past week, those who are guiding the country forward into this new era, could learn a lot from the link between entrepreneurship and character – the need to work in teams, you can’t be selfish, we need to able to deal with failure, not just the big failure but also the day-to-day level of failure too, as well as acceptance that projects have a life of their own.

The event included a  mixture of sessions on all aspects of how to build a successful business, networking and great keynote speakers.   I myself was part of a lunchtime panel session exploring the question ‘What is innovation for?’ – we explored a whole host of topics including, should innovation have a social purpose?; what makes a great entrepreneur; how can you create entrepreneurial staff?;  and the very definition of an entrepreneur, and the fact that we are often given the big guys like Branson or Dyson as examples but in fact to encourage more young people into an entrepreneurial mind-set we should remember that a café owner or an MD of a SME are all entrepreneurs and all have valid experience to share.

When it came to entrepreneurs sharing their experience I attended a session held by Bianca Miller, a runner up in The Apprentice 2014, and now a successful entrepreneur running The B Group, which includes her innovative hosiery brand, Bianca Miller London. She is currently an ambassador for .uk promoting the importance of managing your brand online. She shared her experience and advice on the importance of building your brand online, engaging with customers via the right channels and maintaining consistency and authenticity.

Venturefest Oxford was an inspiring day, an opportunity to meet with some really interesting companies and people and was definitely a day well spent! Looking forward to next year.