Yo! Sushi founder to share valuable business insights with East Midlands entrepreneurs

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Wednesday, October 22nd 2014

Innovators across the East Midlands must have better access to funding to grow – according to a former Dragon’s Den star who will be delivering a keynote speech at a national business event being held in the region.

Simon Woodroffe OBE, the multi-millionaire founder of Yo! Sushi and serial entrepreneur, will be speaking at Venturefest – a summit bringing together innovators and investors to encourage the matching of “capital with creativity”.

Having built the Yo! global brand from scratch, the award-winning businessman fully understands the issues facing entrepreneurs aspiring to start up and grow a business, such as funding, sales and marketing and cash-flow.

He said: “Getting finance is the biggest hurdle for small businesses. Venturefest East Midlands will help entrepreneurs and innovators to overcome this by connecting them with the right investors.

“Give entrepreneurs and innovators guidance and advice and they will be inspired, give them investment and, in the right environment, they will grow. That will develop the local economy, create jobs and regional prosperity.”

Venturefest is being brought to the region by a range of leading partners in the public and private sectors and supported by central government funding provided by Innovate UK. The event is part of a national initiative that aims to drive the development of new business opportunities.

Michael Carr, Director of Business Engagement and Innovation Services at The University of Nottingham, and member of the Venturefest East Midlands project board, said: “It’s vitally important for businesses to innovate their products, services and processes if they are going to stay competitive. We are delighted to have Simon Woodroffe on board to pass on his invaluable experience to our entrepreneurs. I’m sure that Simon will help to inspire the next generation of regional business leaders at Venturefest.”

Venturefest East Midlands will take place on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham and is free to attend.

All innovative businesses are welcome to attend the event, where there will be a particular focus on aerospace, the creative services and digital economy, energy, healthcare, precision engineering, food and drink and transport.

There will also be opportunities for businesses to showcase achievements, network and build business skills during the lead up to the event, with a full programme of key note speakers in the Insight Theatre, Business expo, Masterclass workshops and resources and access to corporate open innovation competitions.

A mobile app has been launched featuring further information on Venturefest East Midlands and delegates can sign up now at www.venturefestem.com.


Notes to editors


  • For further details, to arrange an interview or more photographs, email oliver.jelley@ojpr.co.uk or call 07803 003811 or 01604 882342.
  • Venturefest East Midlands is part of a national Venturefest Network project and is part funded by the Technology Strategy Board and a core set of partners, including the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (D2N2), the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham City Council. The partners also include the University of Leicester and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership
  • Additional funding is expected to be made available from other university and local government sponsors.
  • Venturefest East Midlands also seeks to engage with the regional supply chains by creating opportunities to develop and offer innovative solutions to Senior Buyers of major companies/organisations following a structured Open Innovation campaign coordinated in advance of the event and culminating in pitches for business/contract award announcements at the event.
  • For more information about Venturefest East Midlands, visit www.venturefestem.com.