Crowdfunding and grant advice at Venturefest South West is vital for regional entrepreneurs and tech innovators

Venturefest South West, a flagship event for innovators, entrepreneurs and investors in the technology sector is providing hours of free advice, workshops, presentations and discussions on the critical issue of finding the best source of funding for a technology start-up.

Covering Crowdfunding, business angels, grant programmes, private investment and employee shareholders the access to finance sessions run throughout the day at Venturefest South West at Sandy Park on Tuesday 18th October.

Sharing his own experience of crowdfunding and his subsequent rise to be named by Debrett’s as one of the 500 most influential people in Britain, Darren Westlake, CEO of Exeter-based Crowdcube will talk about how crowdfunding can be an alternative investment strategy for investors.

Darren Westlake, CEO of Crowdcube said: “If you’re an innovative start-up or entrepreneur, you’ll be looking at all the different opportunities of fundraising available. The finance sessions at Venturefest South West will present critical information and provide expert advice. A free event like Venturefest South West has not been held before and could prove to be a catalyst for real growth across the region.”

A distinguished line-up of panellists will be sharing their knowledge and experience on the Access to Finance panel discussion, providing funding strategies for a range of tech companies depending on sector, stage of development and maturity. Panellists include Mark Roberts, Managing Director, Ashwoods Automotive sharing his investment experience and how he has helped the high tech engineering company become one of the largest suppliers of hybrid vans in the UK. Joining them will be Monika Radclyffe, Director, Bristol SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre sharing her knowledge of incubation activity to high tech ventures alongside Darren Westlake of Crowdcube.

Tech companies and entrepreneurs interested in crowdfunding can gather valuable information on equity crowdfunding and its benefits from Richard Eckley, Senior Investment Analyst at Crowdcube including what it takes to create a successful crowdfunding campaign, what investors are looking for in the companies they invest in and how to promote a campaign.

Navigating rewards based crowdfunding and how to validate ideas, find new customers and raise cash is covered by Simon Walker, Head of Campaign Strategy at Crowdfunder discussing some of the more successful projects on Crowdfunder, what they did right and the mistakes they made.

Those wanting to raise money from other means can get expert advice on grants from John Hutchings & John Lewis, RGF Grant Funds, Plymouth University including how valuable business plans are to those looking to invest in your business.

Richard Cobb, Partner, Corporate at Michelmores LLP, will discuss how to attract investors and reward staff effectively including equity investment in early stage companies and tax-friendly ways to allow employees to become shareholders.

Alongside the full day programme of speakers, the Innovation Showcase at Venturefest South West will host companies at all stages of growth exhibiting their innovative products, services and technology in an interactive area giving delegates the chance to touch, try and experience the latest designs from the region.

Venturefest South West also hosts the finals of Pitchfest which will provide technology innovators with a platform to pitch their business ideas to potential investors as well as Hackfest, a schools competition for young technology enthusiasts and innovators of the future.

Venturefest South West on 18th October 2016 at Sandy Park, Exeter is now fully booked. If you have not registered and would like to attend please visit and add your details to the waiting list. You will be notified if a place becomes available.