Series Events 2017

Venturefest 2017 is an eight-month programme of events – the launch on February 3rd was just the beginning! We’d like to continue the conversation around Smart City challenges and opportunities and below are a number of events you can get involved in, which will then culminate in the showcase event in October.


Upcoming Events   Past Events

Business Support Events

  • FEB Venturefest Launch



  • FEB 21ST Start-up drinks

    6.30pm – 8.30pm | Engine Shed | FREE


  • MAR Outline of crowdfunding support programme

    Idea Squares, Engine Shed

  • MAR 14TH Disrupting the Workplace – how technology is changing the way we work

    Venue: Desk Lodge

    Hosted by Estrella Green and Near Desk

    Format: Two hours 8 am kick off with 10am close
    Networking / warm up breakfast
    Introduction from the panel
    Discussion panel

    Panel line up – trends and application of them in the workplace

    Intelligent Apps
    Applied AI
    Unified customer view
    Disrupting HR

    Objectives: Trends for 2017 – take home piece at the end of the series


  • MAR 21ST Start-up drinks

    6.30pm – 8.30pm | Engine Shed | FREE

  • MAR 22ND Stimulating Innovation & Growth

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Format: Registration and meet up will be from 10:00-10:45

    10:45 – 11:00 Sam Bell West of England Growth Hub introduction

    11:00 – 11:30 Paul O’Collins EEN overview

    11:30-12:00 Jamie Duggan International trade adviser – Q&A

    12:00 – 15:00 -13:00 Networking, Talk to a International trade advisor

    13:00-15:00 Open format

    The event is open from 10:45-15:00 open format, if you which to book for the presentations please register.

    The West of England’s Growth Hub’s first Venturefest event in collaboration with Enterprise Europe Network South West and Export for Growth.
    Managing and harnessing innovation is essential for growth and there is a wealth of support designed to help businesses overcome barriers to growth and innovation. Paul O’Collins will provide an overview of the support and expertise available from the innovate2succeed coaching programme aimed at high growth businesses who are looking to introduce new technologies or processes to their business or considering launching new products and services to their customers. Paul will also talk about the EEN service support and expert advice they can provide to those businesses wanting to innovate and grow internationally.

    Exporting to new markets

    Whether you’re new to export and looking for direction, an experienced exporter looking to break into new markets or considering international trade for the first time, the Export for Growth programme can help you on your way. International Trade Adviser (ITA) Jamie Duggan will share information about the support you could get from the programme and how to get involved. You’ll also have your chance to book a 1:1 session!


  • APR 4TH Engine Shed Briefing: Leadership - the challenges of a scaling CEO

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Hosted by: Engine Shed

    Format: This event will feature 2 CEOs who have experienced the scaling up and subsequent exiting of a business.

    There will be an opportunity to hear the stories from the CEOs, their tips and warnings – with plenty of time for questions.

    The event will be followed by SETsquared Connect – an opportunity to network with local tech entrepreneurs.

    If you want to attend SETsquared Connect – please register here, using the password: Netw0rk

    Speakers to be announced shortly.

    The aim of this event is to be informative, provocative, raise awareness, generate new ideas and thoughts, and help build an inclusive scale-up ecosystem – we hope you can attend and contribute to that thinking.

    Please note: This event will be filmed. Please let us know if you do not want to appear in the filming and we can seat you out of view.


  • APR 4TH #Idea2Pitch – develop your high tech business idea into a pitch!

    Hosted by: SETsquared

    Venue: SEtsquared

    Format: 2pm – 6pm

    14.00 – 14.30       Intro to SETsquared

    14.30 – 15.30       What makes a good business idea? Greville Commins (Entrepreneur in Residence)

    15.30 – 15.45       Break

    15.45 – 17.00       Developing an elevator pitch workshop by Greville Commins (Entrepreneur in Residence)

    17.15 – 17.45       Pitch practice

    17.45 – 18.00       SETsquared and Engine Shed tour

    18:00 – 20.00       The workshop is followed by SETsquared Connect networking event at Engine Shed which you are welcome to attend and meet some of our current member businesses.

    This event is designed for non-SETsquared members

    Do you have a great high tech business idea, but don’t know where to start? Or are you unsure what to do next in order to grow your technology company? Then sign up for #Idea2Pitch event hosted by SETsquared Bristol to help hone your ideas, and shape them into a pitch for gaining interest or support in your venture.

    The event includes an interactive workshop on what makes a good business idea, and how to pitch it for maximum effect and an introduction to SETsquared, the Global No.1 university-backed business incubator. Attendees are also invited to the Bristol Centre’s regular SETsquared Connect networking evening following the session. This is an opportunity to informally meet mentors and experts in residence, as well as the start-up community and to try out your new pitch.


    Please apply to attend this session by answering the questions fully in the booking form, and we will let you know if your application has been successful. We have a limited number of spaces available and will be selecting participants based on SETsquared’s ability to help you develop your business ideas.



  • APR TBC Marketing & Messaging for crowdfunding

    Idea Squares, Engine Shed

  • MAY 17TH SETsquared Workshop: Elevator Pitch

    Hosted by: SETsquared

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Format: 10am – 1pm

    SETsquared Workshop: Building your team

    Speaker: Greville Commins, Entrepreneur in Residence

    Another top-class workshop, presented by SETsquared’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Greville Commins, bringing years of experience of pitching to investors, corporates and stakeholders.

    Essential for SETsquared companies who would like to pitch at this year’s Innovation Showcase, now rebranded as ‘SETsquared Tech-xpo’ (event details and pitching selection panel TBC).

    Your Elevator pitch is a basic business skill you need to help you take advantage of every chance encounter or phone conversation where you have 90 seconds to convey your proposition.

    This workshop helps you distil your entire business proposition into a 90 second ‘elevator pitch’.

    There will be plenty of time to practice and develop your pitch in this session.

    Delegates: Open to anyone who needs to improve their skills in presenting their business in a time constrained environment.

    Outcomes: The attendee will know how to refine key messages, build a template for an elevator pitch and leave with some experience of delivering a pitch.


  • MAY TBC Preparing to Launch

    Idea Squares, Engine Shed

  • MAY TBC Scale-up Briefings

    Engine Shed

  • JUN TBC Scale-up Briefings

    Engine Shed

  • JUL TBC Funding Round Launch

    Idea Squares

  • SEP TBC SETsquared: Elevator Pitch Workshop

    1⁄2 day workshop | Engine Shed | Spaces: 10 | TICKETED

  • SEP TBC SETsquared Investor Readiness Training

    1 Day workshop | Engine Shed | Spaces: 8 | TICKETED

  • SEP TBC Scale-up Briefings

    Engine Shed

  • SEP TBC Scale-up Fest – a celebratory event

    Engine Shed

  • OCT Thought Leadership Conference

    The Venturefest Bristol & Bath Series will culminate in a Thought Leadership Conference in October. To register your interest as a delegate, speaker or exhibitor, please contact: @venturefestbb #VFBB17

If you would like any more information on any of the events listed please contact us.
Sam Snow, Marketing Executive
Invest Bristol & Bath

These events are subject to change as the Series grows. We hope to see more events added to the programme, and if you would like to hold a Smart City themed event, or if you would like further information on the events listed please contact us. We can also give you details of how to register.

Tech Events

  • FEB Venturefest Launch



  • MAR 1ST Machine Learning & AI – Application levels & impacts

    BCS  |  Speakers from Graphcore & UWE | 7pm – 9pm | Engine Shed | Spaces: 80 | FREE

  • MAR 2ND Cloud Software Conference

    Voxxed Days| Watershed | Spaces: 200 | TICKETED

  • MAR 3RD IoT Boost


  • MAR 16TH How will we ever trust computers to drive us safely?

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Hosted by Venturer/Flourish

    Format: 10am – 12pm

    Registration from 9.30am. Coffee and Tea provided

    A 2 hr round table discussion on the Smart City challenges and solutions of CAV technology.

    How can we trust a computer to drive us safely? Who becomes liable in the event of an accident? And will CAV’s take away the pleasure of the driver experience on the open road?

    We know that as we move towards Smart Cities technology development is inevitable, so how do we keep the consumer at the heart of it?

    Come along and discuss these questions and more with partners in the Venturer and Flourish projects.


  • MAR 22ND Innovate2succeed & Export for Growth

    Innovate UK & The Growth Hub  | All day drop-in session | 10am – 4pm | Engine Shed | FREE

  • MAR 30TH Cyber Security and its impact for SMEs

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Hosted by: Bristol and Bath Cyber Security Cluster


    6:00pm            Registration

    6:15pm            Introductions and Bristol and Bath Cyber Security Cluster updates

    6:30pm            The National Cyber Security Centre – Head of Innovation Development for UK Government

    7:00pm            Zephyr Focus and Challenges – Detective Inspector Ed Heath, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit

    7:30pm            AoB and Networking

    8:30pm            Close


    Further information:

    The Bristol and Bath Cyber Security Cluster represents SMEs involved in Cyber Security within the local area and is part of the UK Cyber Security Forum.

    As a qualifying SME, it is completely free to join the Forum, and there are now more than 500 Core Members across the country. We also have associate and large membership categories for other companies that are not cyber security SMEs, but are involved in the industry such as academia, law enforcement, legal, accountants, investors, PR and Recruitment.


    Tim Moran by email at or on 07801 678432.

  • APR 5TH - 7TH Bristol Quantum Information Technologies Workshop

    Hosted by: University of Bristol

    Venue: M Shed


    The Bristol Quantum Information Technologies Workshop will return from the 5-7 April 2017 with a new programme of speakers and panellists bringing you everything you need to know about the emerging field of Quantum Technology.

    Since our conception in 2014 we have had 119 speakers and panellists who have presented their work and opinions on a range of topics from Quantum Sensing and Metrology to Quantum Communications and Networks, Quantum Algorithms to Quantum Hardware and Quantum Computation. Speakers for our 2017 BQIT workshop will include:

    Aephraim Steinberg (University of Toronto)
    Akira Furusawa 
    (University of Tokyo)
    Ashley Montanaro 
    (University of Bristol)
    Gerald Buller 
    (Heriot Watt University)
    Jason Smith
     (University of Oxford)
    Joshua Nunn 
    (University of Bath)
    Marek Zukowski 
    (University of Gdansk)
    Michael Bremner 
    (University of Technology Sydney)
    Morgan Mitchell 
    Sebastien Tanzilli 
    (University of Nice)
    Sven Hoefling 
    (University of St Andrews)
    Tommaso Calarco 
    (University of Ulm)
    Winfried Hensinger 
    (University of Sussex)
    Wolfram Pernice 
    (Münster University)

    This year we will be “going harbourside” with our three-day event being held at the M Shed and our evening meals at Bordeaux Quay and the SS Great Britain. These venues have been chosen to represent the best of our Bristolian maritime engineering history, and to introduce the innovative and industrial city of Bristol to newcomers and return visitors.


  • APR TBC Intelligent Infrastructure for the 21st Century

    High Tech Bristol & Bath | Venue: TBC | Spaces: TBC

  • APR 11TH - 13TH VR World Congress

    Hosted by:

    Venue: Various Locations around Millennium Square

    VRWC has become an unmissable occasion: an industry-leading VR conference, expo and matchmaking event now spanning three jam-packed days with a raft of world-class speakers and exhibitors. VRWC17 will take place in four of Bristol’s most unique venues, bringing 2000 international guests to one of the UK’s leading tech sectors.

    The three-day event is centred around Millennium Square, home to the At-Bristol Science Centre and Planetarium. The expo will take place on the Square itself with At-Bristol, the Planetarium and The Watershed hosting talks, meetings and other events.

    VR World Congress is tailored for both industry professionals and consumers, so if you’re looking to make a start in VR, an experienced industry veteran, or just interested in the possibilities of the tech, there’ll be plenty for you to discover.

  • MAY 3RD Robotics & AI Ethics

    Hosted by: British Computing Society

    Venue: Engine Shed


    Speaker meeting from 7pm – 9pm

    Professor Alan Whinfield, BRL

    Law firm – Chris Holder, Bristows

    The next talk is scheduled for Wednesday 3rd.. May @ Engine Shed and will be undertaken by Alan Winfield Professor of Robotic Ethics, at the University of the West of England (UWE) and Chris Holder, Partner at London law firm Bristows where he leads the Robotics & AI division. Their brief biogs can be found below. The talk on AI (Artificial Intelligence) & Robotic Ethics will examine how intelligent robotics has the potential for huge benefit, but is not without ethical or societal risk and where we stand legally on such matters and what this could mean for potential applications and the impact on people.

  • MAY 9TH The Innovation Opportunity for an effective Smart City Strategy

    Hosted by: Knowledge Transfer Network

    Venue: TBC


    A free to attend event for local Urban Living innovation centric businesses, Smart City system/platform R&D leaders to primarily network with like-minded practitioners.  Challenge & Opportunity thinking will be presented by Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) together with those open to thinking for Bristol and Baths development strategy.  This will be an event to share thinking and follow-up on new alliances that you will make as the KTN will be seeking impact.  The event will be set for open thinking for those minded to collaborate.

    Full day event

    Contact: Email to register interest in a place.

  • MAY 10TH & 11TH Drone Tech

    Hosted by: Saved By Tech

    Venue: Engine Shed & Passenger Shed

    Format: 9am – 5.30pm (both days)


    SavedByTech 2017 is a celebration of advanced and disruptive technologies that are being used to save the planet, it’s species and society. Co-located with Europe’s most engaging drone technology event, Dronetech Europe 2017, the SBT17 exhibition will be a melting pot of inspiring technologies like: 3D Printing, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Nanotech, Smart Vehicles, Smart Cities, Smart Homes…smart everything! With a global line-up of speakers who are pioneering innovation in tomorrow’s technology, disrupting and improving the world around us, SBT17 will bring the future to Europe in May 2017.


    The conference provides the industry specific focus you need to take your tech projects to the next level. A wide range of advanced technologies, presented over three days with a big focus on cross-over application and real world opportunities.

  • MAY 16TH The future of work in a Smart City: Evolution to Innovation

    Hosted by: Hays

    Venue: Engine Shed


    Breakfast Meeting – 8.30am – 10.30am

    Situation: Overview of the Smart Cities conference theme

    Smart Cities – the way we live in cities with the technology that underpins

    What impact will this have on the way we live, work & play?

    • The way we consume things?
    • The way we move around?
    • The way we use utilities etc?
    • The way we work/
    • …what technology will play into it… big data, cloud etc


    Hays Presentation


    • Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays West & Wales
    • Steve Weston, Hays Group CIO ?? *TBC dependant on date
    • Thea Watson, Marketing Director, Hays UK&I
    • 3rd party?? Osborne Clarke?? TBC

  • MAY 18TH How can we put people and play at the heart of future cities?

    A Playable City workshop | Time TBC | Venue TBC

  • JUN 12TH The Future of Work

    Hosted by: Desk Lodge

    Venue: Desk Lodge

    Format: 8am – 10am


  • JUN 21ST Internet of Things

    Hosted by: BCS

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Format: Speaker Talk

    Glenn Parry, Professor of Strategy and Operations Management, UWE / Carl Shaw

    IoT and supply chain/ does technology enable freedom and/or efficiency for human kind

  • JUN 29TH Can CAVs really reduce congestion and pollution in cities and urban areas?

    Hosted by: Venturer/Flourish

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Format: Breakfast workshop 10am – 12pm

    A two-hour roundtable discussion on the benefits and challenges of CAV technology.

    Join partners and colleagues from the Venturer and Flourish projects as they debate whether CAV’s will enable cities and urban areas to work smarter. Can they help with parking issues, and getting to your destination quicker?

    Will the lack of pollution mean better air quality for our families? And how will we get used to CAV cars?



  • JUL TBC Fintech

    BCS | Speaker talk | Venue: TBC | Spaces: TBC | FREE

  • SEP 14TH Who will be the winners & losers in a future CAV world?

    Hosted by: Venturer/Flourish

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Format: 10am – 12pm (registration from 9.30am)

    Roundtable Discussion

    A two-hour roundtable discussion on who will come out on top in the CAV world.

    Will the consumer or the developers flourish? What will happen to insurers and how will the new cars be taxed? Are we approaching a world of reduced motoring costs for all?

    Join representatives from the Flourish and Venturer projects as they help unravel the CAV tech world.

    For more information on the projects, please visit:


  • SEP 22ND Working Smarter

    8am – 10am | DeskLodge | FREE

  • SEP 26TH Open Programmable City

    Hosted by: Growth Hub & Bristol is Open

    Venue: Engine Shed

    Format: All day event 10am – 4pm

    BIO talk will start at 10am for 30mins, then an open forum Q & A for an hour and then open house, talks, case studies and guests who will be open to talk to SME’s

    Bristol Is Open is developing an open programmable city. It is a collaboration between the technology, media & telecommunications industry, universities, local communities, and local and national government. The project is governed by a joint venture between University of Bristol and Bristol City Council. Long term partners join an advisory panel that guides the joint venture on the evolution of the network, the creation of multi-partner experiments, the services that underpin the project and publicity and events surrounding the project.

    The talks will be based around what the programme is and how it will work.

    How cities work is changing. Developments in software, hardware and telecom networks are enabling more interaction between people and places and more machine-to-machine communication, creating an internet of things. Opening-up and making sense of this is giving citizens more ability to interact, work and play with their city. Using data sensors, smart city technologies will be able to respond in real-time to everyday events including congestion, waste management, entertainment events, e-democracy, energy supply and more. Together we are creating an open programmable city.

  • SEP 28TH Towards an Advanced Digital Model for the Smart City

    Hosted by: CFMS

    Venue: CFMS @ BBSP

    Format: Seminar (2 hours)

    The topic

    Underpinning smart city transformation is the effective use of technology, the core of addressing

    the challenge of achieving a competitive but sustainable urban environment. Analysing data

    from smart sectors such as energy, transport, waste, health and social care, etc. will seek to

    enhance performance and effectiveness, achieving a truly smart city. In assessing both

    contribution and impact, the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) will in conjunction with

    its partners, develop a digital model of the city of Bristol which will illustrate the use of traffic and

    pedestrian routes, which can potentially be used to identify impact and efficiency for a smart

    city. The topic will also seek to encourage organisations to consider the benefits applying

    modelling and systems engineering to a city scale simulation. Scenario’s such as city planning,

    development and impact on existing infrastructure, new traffic schemes such as metrobus, etc.


    What will be presented

    Utilising the following partners; FLAME software developed by Paul Richmond, Research

    Fellow, Sheffield University, High Performance Computing (HPC) at the University of Bristol,

    managed by Simon McIntosh Smith, Head of Microelectronics, the High Performance Network

    (HPN) and the Bristol Is Open network managed by Dimitra Simeonidou, Chief Architect, and

    Nathan High Performance Computing (HPC) at CFMS, managed by Nathan Harper, IT Systems

    Lead, a 2D digital model (which will be rendered) will be developed that will show the movement

    of traffic and pedestrians throughout the city of Bristol. Effectively creating a digital twin of the

    city, this will simulate and model emergent behaviour, typically used for scenario and

    contingency planning and can provide benefits for traffic related topics such as congestion,

    accidents, etc, and the ability to respond or mitigate incidents.


    How the project will be delivered

    FLAME (Flexible Large Scale Modelling Environment) developed by Sheffield University, is a

    generic agent-based modelling system which can be used to develop applications in many

    areas. It generates a complete agent-based application which can be compiled and built on the

    majority of computing systems ranging from laptops to HPC supercomputers. At a basic level,

    the software consists of a map, consisting of regions that avatars travel around, enacting simple

    sets of instructions through conditions and rules set up. Due to advancements in computing

    technologies, what makes this project possible is massively parallel computing, and is one of

    the reasons FLAME is implemented on Graphical Processing Units (GPU’s), which provides

    accelerated computing power. The software will be installed on the University of Bristol’s High

    Performance Network, and will also point to the Bristol Is Open network and CFMS HPC. The

    project is reliant upon obtaining a digital map of the city of Bristol.

    A further extension of the project, which is currently not within scope, could involve developing a

    holographic mock-up which could be visually shown at Bristol’s 3D Planetarium. This could

    provide a platform for local organisations to convey messaging around the impact of traffic, and

    awareness of environmental issues.



    • Create a digital twin of the city focused on traffic and pedestrian usage
    • Simulate and model emergent behaviour, illustrating the benefits for scenario and

    contingency planning applicable to the city


    What will delegates learn

    • How to assess impact and identify efficiencies supporting the vision of a smart city
    • The benefits of applying modelling and systems engineering to a city scale simulation


    Who the event is targeted towards

    The event is applicable to organisations that:

    • Are interested in finding out more about the benefits of modelling for product

    development, research and development, etc.

    • Utilise high performance computing infrastructures, data centres to a large number of

    interconnected systems and are interested in understanding system efficiency

    • Organisations that are interested in determining impact and potential contribution to realise the vision of the smart city

  • SEP TBC Human Machine Interface

    Hosted by: BCS

    Venue: Possibly Arnofini


    Waiting on more information


    Hosted by: BCS




  • SEP TBC Super Computing

    BCS Speaker talks | Venue: TBC | Spaces: TBC | FREE

  • OCT Thought Leadership Conference

    The Venturefest Bristol & Bath Series will culminate in a Thought Leadership Conference in October. To register your interest as a delegate, speaker or exhibitor, please contact: @venturefestbb #VFBB17

Past Events

Smart City Technology : Challenges and Opportunities, Feb 3rd


View Event