INNOVATORS, entrepreneurs and investors will come together next month to showcase the latest technology, share thinking and explore new ideas.

Venturefest 2019 will be held at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on March 29, bringing together 700 delegates and 100 innovators.

The one-day not-for-profit conference features speakers, seminars, workshops, pitching sessions and demonstrations of the latest technology and innovations, as well as plenty of opportunity to network.

This year, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been announced as one of the partners of the event, which will see local start-ups given the chance to pitch for investment in their new business.

Councillor Clive Sanders, leader of the borough council, said: “We are delighted to become a Venturefest South partner. Working together with other local organisations such as IncuHive, Tech Juice, Desklodge and SETsquared partnership, this flagship event will give us another opportunity to support our local start-up community.

“Businesses already tell us there is a real collaborative spirit in Basingstoke and Venturefest will help us strengthen this by bringing together local innovators, and entrepreneurs with investors to take their business to the next level of growth.”

More than 500 people attended last year’s event, despite the UK being battered by the biggest snowstorm for years, with 20cm of snow across Hampshire.

More than £10 million of investment was asked for by 35 pitchers, and more than 60 innovators were given a space to showcase their business ideas.

One of the success stories of Venturefest 2018 was Connell McLaughlin, who was voted Best Young Innovator after pitching his creation, Route Reports, to several investors.

The aeronautics and astronautics student at University of Southampton designed a sensor system and web-based dashboard that detects hazards such as potholes and overhanging branches so public transport providers can divert their routes.

Four investors pledged £100,000 each towards his business.

The 2019 event is due to be even bigger, with a Young Entrepreneurs Village focusing on the emerging talent coming from the region’s universities; Pitchfest offering a unique take on helping innovators get ready for investment; a Knowledge Zone to listen, learn, engage, share and access the latest innovative thoughts from leading innovators; an Innovation Zone showcasing the freshest and most exciting new innovations, start-ups and businesses; and a Collaboration Zone where the founding partners from the south’s wider innovation community will be located.

Chris Allington, Venturefest South chair, said: “Venturefest South is run and funded solely for the region’s innovation community. We bring together innovators, investors and entrepreneurs, which is vitally important to help strengthen our regional economy and the community of businesses within it.”

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