The backbone of the 2014 programme remained the same, but as with every year we introduced a few new items.
The breakfast sessions set the scene for the whole day.
One of the breakfast sessions was about the revolution in energy generation, distribution and consumption. Smart grids have become one of those technologies that are referred to in a wide range of press but, possibly, not well understood by every investor, entrepreneur and innovator. This session offered a clear explanation of what smart grids really are, why they are needed and what opportunities exist for the individuals and enterprises.
Our other session focused on the new sources of funding coming out of Europe. Applying for EU funding has always been fraught with confusion. The rules will soon become a lot simpler making applying for this kind of funding a much more attractive route to help fund the development and commercialisation of new products.
Throughout the day we showcased the three session streams. The Funding Stream was all about seeking and offering funding and support. Pitching and debating, we heard from and meet investors and entrepreneurs. The stream featured panellists that invest in early stage technology companies, they shared their thoughts on current trends, future markets and the stages of exits.
The Innovation stream was organised around new and existing clusters in Oxford. We invited you to collaborate with us to support these key sectors of the local economy. By doing this, we help to build strong bonds within and between sectors. We spread the story outside of Oxford and the UK and attract investors and skilled staff. Ultimately this stream created a breeding ground for new opportunities.
The Learning stream was jam-packed with ‘How to’ sessions. Showing you how to start or grow a business, with insights from business leaders that you wouldn’t see at any other open event.
The six clusters we showcased this year were: Advanced Engineering, Life Sciences, Digital & Media, Space & Satellite Applications, Cryogenics and Low Carbon. All were very different stages in developing into strong ‘clusters’ but all brought together the businesses, academics, researchers, investors and support experts (from the likes of the Technology Strategy Board) who have been, and will continue to be instrumental in realising the cluster’s full potential.
And if that’s not enough…
Alongside the stream sessions we had the innovation showcase, the exhibition area, and the ‘Meet the Experts’ partnering. All this fuelled by an endless supply of coffee helped to prove to be ‘six months networking in a day’.
Punctuating the sessions we featured three keynote speakers at the start, middle and end of the day. The last session was followed by a drinks reception, bringing together the leaders of Oxfordshire’s innovation eco-system to celebrate its successes and discuss how we can best we can build on our achievements for the future.