New Innovative Leicestershire website launched during packed event at start of Innovation Festival 2023

Date posted: February 8, 2023
  • Website and new brand go live on first day of Leicestershire Innovation Festival
  • More than 140 people register for launch event at university stadium
  • Fortnight-long festival will include 20+ events aimed at increasing business productivity

A new Innovative Leicestershire brand and website launched as the county’s 2023 Innovation Festival got underway at Loughborough University.

The Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Innovation Board introduced the site before going on to describe a 10-point Delivery Plan to drive forward the regional agenda.

More than 140 people had registered to attend the launch of Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2023 at Loughborough University Stadium.

They heard from a string of speakers on Monday morning as guests discussed how innovation can lift productivity in organisations of all sizes.

LLEP Innovation Board Chair, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, noted recent speeches about innovation made by the Prime Minister and Cabinet Members, adding: “We have been driving the innovation agenda in Leicestershire for some time now.

“We now need to deliver on the plan, measure outcomes, and ensure we are promoting our successes.”

Referencing the launch of Innovative Leicestershire, Dr Nik described the importance of the recently-agreed Delivery Plan in tracking value offered by the region through inward investment, knowledge transfer partnerships, funding support for small businesses, and more.

Guests at the event were welcomed by Loughborough University vice-chancellor Professor Nick Jennings, who spoke about the university’s work on building innovative businesses.

Citing recent success stories including Alcuris, INCUS Performance, and mOm, he described how university research and development was putting hundreds of millions of pounds of value into the UK economy.

Prof Jennings also pointed to the opportunity for Leicestershire in having three universities which are all interested in working together to push forward the regional innovation agenda.

Amit Sinha, Chief Technology Officer for SMB, Scale and Private Equity at Microsoft UK, spoke about innovation in times of uncertainty.

He reiterated that affordable technology presented ways for SMEs to ‘work smarter, not harder’ to reinvigorate their approach to innovation without needing to invest large amounts of money.

And Mr Sinha, who has been working with the LLEP to develop its Digital Skills Partnership, showed that history suggests that companies which invest during economic crises tend to emerge more strongly in recovery.

A panel of small business representatives led a discussion hosted by Innovate UK’s Julian Bowery about the opportunities for SMEs around gains through simple approaches towards innovation. Panellists were:

  • Jake Karia, Managing Director of Leicester-based Food Attraction
  • Sonia Baigent, Director of Assist Business Consulting and Chair of the LLEP Business Board
  • James Whyley and Steven Sleath, directors at Loughborough-based process improvement specialist Sirius Transformation
  • Jennifer Thomas, Development Manager for the Federation of Small Business.

After a short break, delegates listened to three well-received talks setting out the practical gains to be made from organisational innovation.

  • Professor Jan Godsell, Dean of Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, spoke about pricing and resilience in supply chains.
  • Ram Gokal, Chief Executive of MIRA-based IVe, described how an ethos of continuous innovation had taken the company from zero to providing sustainable light goods vehicles – despite the business launching the day before Lockdown.
  • Professor Mat Hughes, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Leicester, spoke about how to take a different view on productivity metrics in all organisations.

The fortnight-long festival runs until Friday 17 February. It includes more than 20 events bringing together a host of organisations from business, industry, education, research and non-profit sectors.

The festival, now in its fifth year, is led by the LLEP and includes the flagship LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards at the National Space Centre on the evening of Thursday 16 February.

Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee will provide the keynote speech at the awards ceremony. A very small number of tickets are still available.



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