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Leicestershire Innovation Festival programme

12 January 2022

Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2022 has already captured the imagination of businesses across the county.  There are so many high quality events in the programme already and several more to be confirmed.  Please check back with this page regularly and follow us and the hashtag #LeicsIF22 on Twitter for the latest news.


Monday 14 February 

Launch Event at Space Park Leicester with Dr Nik Kotecha OBE – “How local businesses have used innovation successfully in their culture”

The Midlands is the manufacturing heartland of the UK, with unrivalled expertise and capacity to make and apply low carbon hydrogen technologies to deliver net zero. It is hydrogen technologies that have the power to connect hydrogen generators and end users – and it is the Midlands that has the power to make those technologies, for use in areas as diverse as transport, domestic heating and off grid power supplies.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chair of Leicestershire Innovation Board, will introduce three keynote speakers; Dennis Hayter, Vice-President of Business Development at Intelligent Energy will share “21 years of fuel cell technology – innovation highlights”. Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex will speak about “Toward Net Zero: Stimulus for Innovation’. Peter Ware, Green Growth Board Chairman, from Midlands Engine will explain the pivotal role the Midlands can play in low carbon hydrogen, to achieve government ambitions to unlock the vast potential of hydrogen, in the nation’s journey to net zero and sustainable growth.

Intelligent Energy is the leading UK developer and a global supplier of hydrogen fuel cell technology.  Its planned new Gigawatt-scale fuel cell production facilities will put the East Midlands at the forefront of zero emission fuel cell power product supply for the global hydrogen economy.  Cenex focuses on low-emission transport and associated energy infrastructure .  Both businesses have contributed to the Midlands Engine Hydrogen Technologies Strategy, which in turn is part of the Ten Point Plan for Green Growth which is galvanising action for a cleaner, greener Midlands.

Julian Bowery from Innovate UK will also speak.  There will be a Q&A session hosted by Charlotte Horobin, Regional Director of MAKE UK and Midlands Engine Business Forum, as well as a tour of the Space Park with Will Wells and Omer Ozkirimli.  Do join us to learn how these local businesses have used innovation successfully.


Tuesday 15 February 

Initiate Innovation – Harborough innovation Centre, 9.30am – 4.30pm 

Drop in to discuss your ideas with a business adviser face to face.  You can either book an appointment or just turn up.  We will be joined by advisers from the Business Gateway, Digital Upscaler and the NBV programme.


Wednesday 16 February 

The Finance Escalator – A look at the different finance requirements for businesses from early-stage finance, at start up through to growth finance for expansion – Innovate UK and partners, 10.00am – 12.00pm.

An overview of the types of finance and support available, from grants, business angels, venture capitalists, debt finance, private equity and Government.

Leicester Innovation Hub.  128 Regent Road, Leicester, LE1 7PA.

Financing your Innovation with Start-up loans, 12.30pm – 1.15pm

The British Business Bank, in partnership with Leicester Start-ups explains how to find the money to make your innovative idea a reality so that you can start your own business around it.

Meet the Founders by LU Inc at Loughborough University, 12.30pm – 2.00pm

If you are an early-stage start-up business that wants to understand where to focus your time, energy and resources, this is the event for you.  Hear from two successful start-up founders working on building and scaling their businesses. We’ll discuss their business successes and challenges and invite them to share insights from their journey.

How to make your Fashion business succeed today – Fashion-Enter Ltd | FashionCapital | FCFTA Caroline Ash, Director, 4.00pm – 5.10pm

This is a unique seminar for all fashion brands and factories in Leicester.  Business is always tough in January and February but this year it seems even harder – so Fashion-Enter is here to help!  We have free £5k grants available to support companies thanks to the Community Renewal Fund (criteria apply) and we can offer free business advice plus promote your company free of charge to the industry.  We can also offer free qualifications in skills too!


Thursday 17 February

Love Business Expo – all day


Monday 21 February

Q&A on The Business Accelerator Programme – Drop-in Session 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Drop in to speak to Pete Hitchings, LU Inc manager, to find out what this programme can offer you.

How the Innovate UK Family Can Help Your Business Grow – Innovate UK Edge and partners, 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Innovate UK, Innovate EDGE, KtN and KtP showcase what’s offer to support your business with innovation.

  • Innovate UK – the innovate family in the region
  • IUK finance offer –
    • Grants and loans
    • Innovate KTN
    • Innovate Edge
  • Panel discussion
  • Q&A then networking

This event will be in person at Leicester Innovation Hub Conference Room and online with a panel.


Tuesday 22 February

Thinking Differently for Business Growth – Charnwood Innovation Centre and Medilink, 9.00am – 1.00pm (IN-PERSON EVENT)

This event will expose you to business leaders who were not afraid to do things differently, who successfully embraced innovative solutions to streamline processes, gain new customers, enter new markets, increase profitability during the process.

Connect to our life science business cluster – entrepreneurs, public and educational sector, networking organisations and health and social care organisations to support the development of an innovation culture within your business.

Design 101: How prototyping works – De Montfort University, 12.00pm – 1.00pm

Do you have an idea for a new product, but don’t know how to design it? DMU’s Design Unit has worked with hundreds of companies to help them with ideas that need development, or existing products that need revamping.

In this session as part of Leicestershire Innovation Festival, we’ll explain the product design process, and talk you through how it works from concept to completion.

We’ll also share how companies can access money off the design process and answer your questions. If you have an idea, or you want to know how to work with a design team, then do come along – we’d love to see how we can help you.

“Innovation in the themed entertainment industry: panel discussion” – Holovis Ltd, 12.30pm – 2.00pm

Join the team at Holovis as they discuss innovation across the themed entertainment industry. Taking a look at their projects across theme parks, museums and entertainment centres, the team will discuss all the current trends in technology and creativity.

Collaborating to bring Sustainable Innovation to Packaging – Aquapak and Loughborough University, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Find out how Aquapak Polymers Ltd are using the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Scheme to develop environmentally friendly polymers, that will enable packaging to be recycled.

Aquapak is an innovative polymer (plastics) producer that enables multi-functional materials to be produced to increase the-end-of-life options and sustainability of packaging without compromising functionality. Hydropol is a soluble, non-toxic and marine-safe alternative to traditional plastics, retaining the functionality of packaging whilst dramatically improving their end-of-life options including recyclability, biodegradability, anaerobic digestion and compostability.

The event will explain how this collaboration came about, how Aquapak and the university are working together, how you can secure KTP funding, and what other opportunities there are for collaborating with the university. There will be a Q&A session at the end

“What it takes to raise equity finance” – Oxford Innovation Advice, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

A two-hour masterclass for SMEs delivered by business coach, Richard Cooper.


Wednesday 23 February 

Hydrogen in the Midlands – how Midlands Innovation is acting as a catalyst for the transition to a Hydrogen society – HORIBA MIRA, 9.30am – 10.30am 

HORIBA MIRA once again shares its pioneering work on alternative fuels in response to the need to reduce carbon emissions across the world.  Anthony Baxendale, Head of Horizon Scanning, will be joined by Sean Crespin, Strategic Marketing Head for Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Business, HORIBA UK. He will discuss Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Solutions for Tomorrow’s Challenges.There will also be an update on H2GVMids helping the Midlands make the transition to hydrogen powered 44t HGVs.

Medilink Midlands Virtual Coffee Break, 10:30 am – 11:30 am.

This informal gathering will be hosted by Darren Clark, Chief Executive at Medilink Midlands and it’s an opportunity to share current challenges and make introductions to those that can help. We’ll be joined by Alex Mclaughlin, Head of International Trade and Medical Device Regulation at the Office for Life Sciences, who will be giving us a short update on how Brexit has affected the Life Sciences sector.

Financing your Innovation with Business Angel investment, British Business Bank and Leicester Start-ups – 12.30pm – 1.15pm

The second event from The British Business Bank in partnership with Leicester Start-ups explains how to attract so called ‘business angels’ to invest in your innovative idea to launch it and support it to an agreed destination.

A video of this event is coming soon.

Technology Driving Growth with East Midlands Chamber – 2.00pm – 3.30pm 

Join us to hear more from Digital Upscaler Adviser, David Dobson who is working with businesses from across the region supporting their Digital Transformation plans.

David will share the programme overview, bring client case studies and be part of a Technology Q&A panel with colleagues from the programme. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of the panel and guests to help your business grow through the adoption of technology and innovation growth support.

Thursday 24 February 

‘Technical Innovation to support High Quality Care” – Medilink and De Montfort University, 10.00am – 11.00am

Join DMU’s Digital Health Team in partnership with Willows Heath and Medicspot, for an insight into the latest developments in this area supporting the future of healthcare. This webinar focuses on:

  • Experiences of health and care providers in adopting technology innovation
  • Innovation in action: working in partnership with health and care providers to meet the needs of communities
  • Factors driving change in technology innovation and the implications to health and the care sector

This free to attend webinar will be held as part of the SoLSTICE programme – a project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund

Watch the video here.

“Getting Wellbeing Right – innovation in workplace health”- Steve Perkins Associates, 12.15pm – 1.30pm

Everyone is talking wellbeing these days and Covid has brought workplace health firmly into the spotlight. But what lies at the heart of wellbeing and how do we ensure our people’s health is properly protected at work? Steve Perkins is Managing Director of a specialist health protection consultancy working nationally in the construction industry. He will unpack the big picture of workplace health and outline an approach to fundamental wellbeing, applicable in any sector. The webinar will be interactive, stimulating and illustrated with real life case studies from their award-winning work in the highways sector. You’ll leave with a better understanding of the actual workplace challenges to your employees’ health and a framework for how to tackle them.

you can watch a video of this event here

Innovation Board Meeting

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, chairs this meeting of the Leicestershire Innovation Board

This event is not open for bookings.


Leicestershire Live Innovation Awards

An evening that celebrates innovators across Leicestershire


Friday 25 February

Funding for Innovation : Innovation Friday at Leicester Innovation Hub, 10.00am – 1.00pm (IN PERSON)

Find the funding you need to embark on your next innovation journey and network with other businesses from across our region.  This Innovation Friday will be a ‘face to face’, real world meet-up at the Brookfield Campus, London Road, in the newly refurbished School of Business buildings.

Meet the Innovation experts, identify sources of funding for your project and network with useful people from the region.

Book here.


Leicester Startups Demo Day, 12.30pm – 2.00pm

Watch the next Leicester Startups Accelerator cohort founders pitch live in front of a panel of investors and entrepreneurs.  The fourth Leicester Startups Accelerator has supported 9 local startups through a high-tempo six-week programme of mentorship, networking and peer-support.

This is your opportunity to hear about their businesses and how they’ve developed during the accelerator.

We’re incredibly grateful to the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s Business Gateway Growth Hub who fully funded this accelerator. The British Business Bank has also kindly agreed to support the programme.

Book here.

Carbon Reduction Training – Introduction for SMEs, Leicester Innovation Hub – 1.00pm – 2.00pm

This session will help you understand the context of carbon reductions and what climate change means for your business, why you should be taking steps to reducing your emissions, how you and your customers can benefit and how to get support.

What to expect:

  • We will help you make sense of carbon jargon
  • Discuss carbon footprints of individuals and business actions
  • Highlight the benefits of taking action with case studies of other local businesses
  • Signpost you to tools and resources available in Leicester.

Key questions we will help answer:

what does it meant to be net zero or carbon neutral?

what is the carbon footprint of my business travel?

what’s in it for me by taking action?

where can I find tools and resources to help?

Book here