Innovate 2018 is an annual business programme set-up to take winning ideas and help them grow into a successful business or product. Now in its seventh year, the event has seen over 1,400 ideas come through the door and built numerous businesses.
Dave Craig of The Factory runs the programme and he is looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition brings.
“This year we have received 91 entries and there are some exciting and inspiring ideas in there,” he says.
Each finalist is allocated up to three mentors plus the expertise of The Factory. Mentors are asked to be a part of the programme based on skill and relevance. Over 300 mentors power Innovate, with over 40 based locally and another 250 nationally. Along with mentors, 15 niche businesses help power the programme as well as The Factory, our region’s only accelerator/incubator.
“Innovate creates a real pathway for people who are stuck or who just don’t know what to do next when it comes to their business,” says Dave.
“Over the past seven years, what we have learned is Innovate not only helps people build their business but it helps develop their own self – emotionally and intellectually.”
The finalists will present their ideas to the judges at the finals night on 29 November. Judges are selected by the mentor pool once the finalists have been allocated their mentors.
Previous winner Paul Simpson found that the programme provided some good exposure and validation for his software start-up StockTrim, plus connections with great mentors and experts in the SMB inventory planning space which helped him polish up the product.
StockTrim is cloud-based software which helps small businesses with inventory costs.
“Revenue has increased ten-fold, I have brought on a full-time sales and marketing business partner and co-founder, and we hope to raise funding in 12 months’ time, along with attracting global customers,” says Paul.
Follow Innovate 2018 to see where the finalists are at and to find out more about the finals night in November.