The Bristol and Bath tech community will be invited to play its part in shaping the technology vision for the future city at Venturefest Bristol & Bath. The event returns in 2017 for a unique, year-long series exploring the technology challenges of the future city.
The programme is designed to allow tech start-ups and established tech businesses to enter a new, underexploited £7tn market opportunity. It will build on Bristol’s burgeoning reputation as a smart city leader and focus the much-lauded innovative capacity of the region’s tech cluster.
Kicking off in February, the series starts with a day-long conference where some of the leading luminaries of the smart city agenda will share their insights; global companies such as Mastercard will outline their vision for their role in the connected smart city and where tech companies who have already embraced the opportunity will show how they are capitalising on it.
The event, at Future Space, at the University of the West of England’s Frenchay campus, will begin a programme running throughout the year with a variety of linked events culminating in a major conference in October 2017, as part of the second Festival of the Future City.
Alongside the conference, Silicon Gorge and Idea Squares will run Venturefest’s Investor Showcase giving start-ups the chance to pitch their business plans to venture capital investors invited in especially for the event.
The series is being delivered by inward investment agency, Invest Bristol & Bath, in partnership with Innovate UK, and is being supported by the region’s universities, including the University of the West of England, Bath Spa University and the University of Bristol, as well as SETsquared Bristol, the world’s #1 university business incubator.
Matt Cross, Head of Inward Investment at Invest Bristol & Bath, said, “We have designed this event to help create a focus for the tech community in the region. We know that the term ‘smart city’ is frequently misunderstood, resulting in lost opportunities. In partnership with our tech community we can give real meaning to the term and take a global leadership role in the technology that will guide the evolution of cities into a fully connected world.”
With a number of speakers and exhibitors already confirmed including Sam Masloum, Director of Public Sector UK and Ireland at MasterCard and Miranda Sharp, Head of Smart Cities Practice at Ordnance Survey, their involvement signals Venturefest Bristol & Bath’s transformation into an international event in line with the region’s status as a world-leading tech cluster.
For more information, and to keep up to date with the latest news, follow @venturefestbb or visit www.venturefestbristolandbath.com.
 Centre for Cities and McKinsey & Company, July 2014