Behind the Silicon Fen success of becoming a hub for thriving ventures and a global phenomenon was the university’s focus on knowledge sharing.

This very concept of sharing know-how and the idea of strengthening connectivity between innovators, investors and founders, has brought local innovation eco-systems together to launch one of the most important events in the East Anglia region – Venturefest East (VFE).

At St John’s Innovation Centre (SJIC) we find everything about Venturefest exciting: we enjoy working with the Local Economic Partnerships (GCGP LEP and New Anglia LEP) to create a powerful speaker line-up; we are grateful to the major clusters in the regions for the delivery of the track sessions on Wireless, Life Sciences, Agri-Tech, Cleantech, Digital and Creative Sectors; and we are excited about the Pitching Competition and Innovation Showcase which showcase the best of the innovation in the region!

Venturefest East will also coincide with the pre-launch date of Charles Cotton’s new book The Cambridge Phenomenon International on 1st June 2016. Cotton, who is also a keynote speaker at the event has been keen observer of the tech cluster and start-up culture set against the backdrop of the University of Cambridge for over five decades. He will be joined on the day by two serial entrepreneurs and icons of the angel investment sector, Hermann Hauser, the Co-Founder of Amadeus Capital Partners and Dr David Cleeveley CBE, who has invested in over 35 companies and is the Co-Founder and Chairman of five of them, including the award winning restaurant “Bocca di Lupo”. They will lead the first, “Making it big or failing disastrously’ session and share war and success stories from their investor experience.

Alongside the exhibition, topical track sessions and networking across clusters, delegates will have an opportunity to meet successful start-up founders, high-profile speakers and panellists during the Open Forum themed ‘Don’t Believe the Doubters – Just do it!’, including Neil Garner, CEO of Proxama and Anthony Tomlinson of Google, an avid gamer, whose speech synthesis company Phonetic Arts was acquired by the tech giant in 2010.

This interactive hands-on open forum will perfectly set the scene for the ‘Fast and Furious Pitch-Off’ featuring 12 most promising start-ups in the region. Five lucky winners will be announced during the after party with beer sponsored by Adnams.

We are definitely looking forward to the main pitching competition and meeting the start-up founders with some good grit and determination to blaze a trail across new areas. We also expect the room to fill up quick so don’t miss it on the day!

With great start-up and business stories coming from across the east region, we truly believe that Venturefest East will become a flagship event supporting and promoting local talent and innovation. We also love the “make things happen” motto that drives VFE which is tailored to address issues specifically related to building a business in today’s fast moving market and highlight the type of support and funding currently available.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Venturefest East will take place on Tuesday, 24th May 2016 at the Rowley Mile Racecourse in Newmarket.

To find out more about Venturefest East, please visit