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Innovation week – June 2021 #LeicsIW2021

Innovation should be a key part of your business

Innovation - ipad design

Leicestershire Innovation Week 21 - 26 June 2021

This year’s Leicestershire Innovation Week is 21 – 26 June 2021 and it features a packed programme of events looking at all aspects of innovation, big and small. From space to self-driving vehicles; food and drink, life sciences, music, service jam; women, young people and their unique approach to innovation. There’s a universities showcase with the FSB and, of course, the Leicestershire Live Roundtable.

What's coming in Innovation Week 2021

Monday 21 June

8.30 – 10.00 am: Leicester Innovation Week Launch – First Steps to Business Blast Off at Space Park Leicester

Innovation Board Chair, Dr Nik Kotecha, welcomes you to this showcase for the opportunities created by Space Park Leicester, the recently opened, state of the art facility.  Prof Martin Barstow, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Space Park Leicester shares the project’s journey to completion and its future role in Leicester’s economic recovery.

Susie Imber tells the story of ‘My Life In Space’. In 2017 Susie was the winner of the BBC2 series Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?  Our other speakers include Rachel Tidmarsh of Blue Sky International and Dean Cook of Innovate UK.  The Q&A panel will be chaired by Chas Bishop.

1.00 – 2.30 pm: Developing the next generation of Diagnostics in the health sector

Engage with clinical experts at the University of Leicester and University Hospitals Leicester to identify new R&D opportunities, drive innovation and routes to funding to de-risk industrial innovations through collaboration.



Tuesday 22 June

8.30-10.00am: Innovation funding for microbusiness – with Lawrie Chandler

Innovation is the heart of a business these days.  But funding innovations is hard.  Here we showcase sources of funds to get you going.  With a focus on microbusinesses and sole traders plus those wanting to start out, we cover loans and other forms of finance to get Leicestershire innovators moving, including how to fund prototype products.

10.30-12.00pm: Innovations in Food and Drink 

Innovation is crucial to the survival and growth of every sector in our economy.  Food and Drink form a major part of the Leicestershire Economy, involving hundreds of jobs and products.  Come and find out how this sector is developing and what’s coming next.  You may spot a gap in the market and be inspired to fill it yourself.

10.00 am -1.00 pm: Fashion & Textiles – Employing people: capability and connecting

Employing people with the right skills, managing and retaining staff is often one of the biggest challenges for SMEs, across all sectors. In the fashion and textiles industry staying ahead of trends and ensuring that the business is not only complying with the current law but exceeding the ethical and social standards required by the retailers and brands that they are working with is also difficult. Get advice at this session.

9.00-10.00am: Building an Innovation Community – Loughborough University

There is a vibrant community of innovators and support at Loughborough University.   This session explains how this works and what it can offer your business.

2.00 – 3.30 pm: Creative technologies for game-changing business ideas, led by De Montfort University

Rapid changes in the Creative Industries and Creative Technologies present previously unforeseen opportunities for businesses, jobs and especially for Leicester.  In this wide-ranging session, academics specialising in creative technologies will demonstrate the wider applications they have for business.



Wednesday 23 June 

9.30 – 11.00 am: How innovation is transforming the way we travel  

HORIBA MIRA’s Head of Horizon Scanning, Anthony Baxendale, leads this fascinating event which will explore the connections between hydrogen vehicles, cyber security, the issues around electric cars and how these emerging questions affect the skills agenda.

10.00 – 12.00 pm: Researching and selling to new Food and Drink markets

This Business Gateway event supports one of Leicestershire’s key sectors – food and drink.  It explores innovation in the form of researching, entering and selling in new markets, including different retailer groups.

11.00am – 12.00pm Innovation Centres – your launchpad to success 

A virtual tour of some of Leicester’s excellent innovation locations which include LCB Depot, DOCK, DMU Innovation Centre and UoL Innovation Centre.

12.00 – 1.30 pm: Meet the Innovators at Harborough Innovation Centre 

Innovation is county-wide and this event celebrates the many different types of innovation within Market Harborough’s iconic Innovation Centre.

12.30-2.00pm: Accelerator Start-ups – Where are they now? 

Come and join some of Leicestershire’s recent start-ups to find out how they got started and how they’re doing now.  If you’re thinking of starting your own small businesses, or you’re an investor or another recent start-up, this session is sure to be of interest to you.

2.00-3.00pm: Leicestershire Innovation Showcase – Shaping our Future

This is a high-profile event showcasing the amazing innovative companies in Leicestershire; with keynote speeches from Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Dr Luke Evans MP and Professor Fiona Murray CBE, from the MIT Sloan School of Business.  We will also hear first-hand from  business leaders about their innovation journeys, as well as a Q&A with an expert panel.

4.30 – 6.00 pm: How Female Leaders Drive Innovation with Rachel Granger of De Montfort University

DMU supports an international panel event on unlocking female leadership for innovation and commercial growth in Leicestershire, and leadership cultures and practices that drive innovation. We will draw on the expertise of Dr Heather Melville OBE, director at PwC and Chair of CMI Women, Katie Palencsar, the fintech leader and director of the New York Female Innovators Lab, and Eileen Richards, the Chair of the East Midlands Chamber.



Thursday 24 June 

1.00-2.30pm: Zero Carbon and your Small Business – getting your staff on board

“Taking action on climate change in your business is more than just making simple changes in your products, services or operations. For changes to be impactful, they need to have the support and understanding of colleagues” says Dr Sandra Lee.  “To have an even wider impact, businesses need to consider how they influence their supply chain, partners and customers” adds Dr Andrew Reeves.

3.00-4.00pm: Rebuilding the Image of Leicester’s Fashion Sector 

One of Leicester’s most important sectors – fashion and textiles – has had a very tough time recently with Brexit, Covid and concerns about non-ethical practices in some parts of the supply chain.  So how do we rebuild and ensure that this sector thrives again, providing jobs and income for the city?  A panel of experts discuss the factors that may help.

6.00 – 9.00 pm: Leicestershire Live Innovation Round Table 2021, Reach Plc

This event is being organised by Reach Plc and can be booked here.



Friday 25 June

10.30 am – 11.45 pm: Innovation Friday online: “Your competitors are adapting, are you?” University of Leicester, De Montfort University, University of Loughborough, Federation of Small Businesses. Hosted by Leicester Innovation Hub.

A dynamic event that will combine the innovative know-how of Leicestershire’s three universities with the coal face practicalities of the FSB and its members.

10.30 – 11.30 am: Innovating at pace and with purpose:  Using Design-led Approaches to Accelerate Innovation – details coming soon.

How to use tried and trusted design methods to drive innovation at pace in a meaningful way.

Designing the High Street of Tomorrow: A Service Jam from Solvers Studio ( Sorry this event has been postponed to 2 & 3 October 2021 – details tbc)