VentureFest Scotland 2016
Shelley Breckenridge

By Shelley Breckenridge, Business Engagement Manager, Interface

When Venturefest landed in Glasgow last year, Interface immediately recognised it as an exciting new opportunity to highlight to businesses the benefits of partnering with the world-class universities and research institutions we have here in Scotland.

So we had no hesitation getting back involved this year, for what is shaping up to be another highly engaging successful event for businesses which want to grow through innovation.

Venturefest fits well with Interface’s core aims – to connect businesses of all sizes, and from all sectors, to academic expertise in our universities and research institutions for innovative collaborations. These can lead to the creation and development of new products, services and processes which help hundreds of businesses become more competitive, increasing their profits, entering new markets and ultimately becoming more sustainable.

Venturefest takes place in September and Interface will be there to assist businesses thinking about how they can innovate, working with academic expertise (and there is a wealth of it on our doorstep here in Scotland).

It could be that a business would benefit from making a process leaner and faster, or fine-tuning an innovative new product before it’s launched. Working with academics can take a business in a number of directions – Interface is here to open the doors to the possibilities.

And it doesn’t always have to be working with an academic - working with student groups or indeed getting access to equipment and facilities can all bring something different to a business’s development, from fresh ideas to practical improvements to systems and processes.

At the recent Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, the judges recognised the significant input of Laura Kreiling, a Knowledge Transfer Partner Associate from University of Strathclyde, who worked on a two-year project with leading bus and coach manufacturer, Alexander Dennis Ltd.

Her project resulted in a huge time saving for the estimation of engineering resources (from five days to just 30 minutes – just think what could be done with that amount of extra time!), as well as a significant reduction in costs.

It made me think – what else could SMEs up and down the country do with some academic input? As small to medium sized businesses often cite lack of time or resource as a barrier to exploring innovation, partnering with academics could be the way forward: and it often results in a longer-term productive relationship leading to further innovative projects with the same or other academics. That’s why we often say it’s a “win-win” for both business and academics and that shared learning experience has great benefit to both too.

Interface is delighted to further support this year’s Venturefest with a number of feeder events in the run-up to the big day, on 1 September: we believe that people make connections, so getting out and about to meet businesses interested in innovating is important to us. It means we can tell even more entrepreneurs about the many opportunities and benefits to be gained from partnering with academic expertise and enables some of the businesses we’ve already worked with tell their story.

We have partnered with CeeD (the Centre for Engineering Education and Development) and the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) for our first event, in Ayr on 28 April, entitled Boosting Business through Collaboration. This event will showcase how Scotland’s world class universities and research institutions can encourage, initiate and drive innovation amongst Scottish businesses.

A second feeder event we’ve organised, this time with University of Strathclyde and CeeD, will highlight the expertise within Scottish universities and the benefits of partnering and collaborating with them. Insights from Industry - Generating Value from Academic Partnerships, takes place on 12 May in Glasgow. More feeder events are being planned across Scotland for the coming months – details will be posted on our website.

Why not register now to start a journey of collaborative innovation with academic expertise?

20 April 2016