Is innovation a key driver when it comes to growing a successful business? Local business support providers certainly think so as Leicester Innovation Week returns for the third successive year this February promising a programme to inspire, inform and excite business owners.
Leicester Innovation Week takes places from 24 to 28 February 2020 and offers an exciting opportunity for businesses, universities and support organisations to work together and showcase the Leicester and Leicestershire area as a hub for innovation.
A calendar of events is planned each day. The launch, organised by the Business Gateway Growth Hub, takes place on Monday 24 February at science-based technology company 3M who are located at Charnwood Campus in Loughborough.
Delegates will hear from Professor Robert Allison, Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University whose presentation will cover innovation, technology and collaboration. Professor Allison said: “Innovation is key to business growth and profitability, though some business owners find it difficult to navigate the support available and how to access it.
“We want to address this with Leicester Innovation Week and provide a platform for innovative businesses and individuals across Leicestershire to shout about their experience and achievements, and signpost to current support.”
The events programme includes Harborough District Council’s ‘Creating an Innovative Culture” seminar where businesses can find out how to take risks, fulfil staff potential and create an environment to inspire innovation.
In addition, Leicester Innovation Hub will run an ‘Advanced Engineering and Product Design Innovation’ seminar providing details of the new support for advanced engineering businesses and the high-tech facilities from the University of Leicester’s Space Park Leicester, aimed at those interested in developing new products or components.
There’s an opportunity on Thursday 26 February to hear about the success of ‘no-code’ systems from the Digital Growth Programme. Choosing and connecting a set of pre-built services together to create a new digital product or service is a great way to launch a business or side project. Delegates will be taken on a journey from planning a system, through to selecting the right tools to a live demonstration of a full system being built in real-time.
The Leicestershire Live Innovation Awards will also return on Thursday 27 February. These awards celebrate the very best technology, services, digital advances and creative thinking that Leicester and Leicestershire have to offer. There is an exhibition where you can meet the finalists between 2 pm and 4pm at Morningside Arena, and everyone is free to attend.
Last year’s Innovator of the Year award went to ChatHealth, an NHS messaging service that allows families and young people to speak confidentially with health professionals by simply sending a text. The service is now used across the country and its successfully exemplifies how the use of technology can impact people’s lives for good and bring about positive change.
ChatHealth project lead, Jimmy Endicott said: “ChatHealth is an absolutely unique Leicestershire innovation that’s now available to millions of people across the UK. It was great that the awards recognised how our local public health nurses have helped make improvements across the entire NHS. It’s also been a real springboard for us to be able to connect with other local innovators from different kinds of industries and backgrounds – it’s those kinds of unexpected connections that lead to other new things happening.”
Innovation Week 2020 is led by Innovate UK and delivered in partnership with the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP), Federation of Small Businesses, De Montfort University, Loughborough University and University of Leicester.
(pic: Jimmy Endicott, ChatHealth with Nick Kotecha of Morningside Pharmaceuticals