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New Chair for Venturefest Yorkshire Advisory Group

James Newman, who has just stepped down as Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, is to be the Chair of the Venturefest Yorkshire Advisory Group. He takes on this role as responsibility for managing the event passes from York Professionals to Make It York.

James was the first Chairman of the Sheffield LEP from 2010 to 2015 and is a Yorkshireman born and bred, with a business career spanning almost 40 years. This includes senior executive roles in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, services and utilities and a number of high profile chairmanship and non-executive roles in a number of plcs. He is currently Chairman of Finance Yorkshire and Fishing Republic Plc.

Commenting on the appointment, Steve Brown, Managing Director of Make It York, said: “We are delighted to have someone of James’s calibre leading the Venturefest Advisory Group. He is incredibly well connected across Yorkshire and we will be looking to make the most of his contacts and vast experience. We have someone of real gravitas to help us make Venturefest as good as it can possibly be.”

James Newman commented that: “This is a timely appointment for me after standing down after over 5 years leading the Sheffield City Region LEP. I have built up an excellent network of good business contacts and friends across Yorkshire. I plan to put my experience and contacts to good use to make Venturefest a big success so that it benefits the many entrepreneurs and their small and innovative companies across Yorkshire. I very much look forward to working with the new team to put on an excellent event.”

Venturefest Yorkshire will take place on the 16th of November at York Racecourse. Created twelve years ago, the aim of Venturefest is to provide finance, support and inspiration for entrepreneurs and innovators in science, technology and high growth businesses.

Heather Niven, Head of Science City York, will be leading the operational team putting on Venturefest and commented: “Venturefest in Yorkshire has a great track record and reputation but we have been charged with giving it a new lease of life and ensuring that it is an event that involves the whole of the Yorkshire region. The appointment of James Newman to head up our Advisory Group is a great boost and will certainly help with the challenge of engaging with all parts of the county.”



For further information please contact:
Heather Niven – Head of Science City York
Direct Line: 01904 554284

Notes for Editors:

Venturefest is a part of KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network) funded by Innovate UK. There is a network of 12 regional events across the UK that bring together innovators (with great ideas looking for funding), investors (looking for great ideas to invest in) and entrepreneurs (putting the ideas and money together to build businesses).

Venturefest Yorkshire was created twelve years ago by York Professionals. Venturefest Yorkshire’s aim has been to provide inspiration, support and investment for entrepreneurs and business managers in science, technology, creative and high growth businesses. During that time it has welcomed over 14,000 people through its doors and generated a £5.4 million injection into the regional economy through direct outputs and an estimated £22.5 million of GVA via deals done and investments created. Make It York took over responsibility for Venturefest Yorkshire in January 2016.

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, stud, work and do business. The remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Science City York is a part of Make It York and is the business and innovation brand that supports the city and its surroundings’ creative, science and technology businesses. Under the Science City brand, Make It York’s aim is to promote York as a brilliant place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation and to stimulate greater inward investment. The Science City York team are leading on the event.

Key business tourism facts:
An estimated 16,900 business events are attended by a million business event visitors annually
£148.9m spent at venues and in the local destination

Key business & investment facts:
The York economy is currently worth £4.75billion (GVA), supporting around 8,610 businesses and 114,000 jobs