TBC - 7th October 2023

Great Malvern, UK

12th Edition


Thursday 8th October 2015

GrowthBlocksThe Business of Innovating

Location: Three Counties Showground, WR13 6NW

alongside the HW Chamber's Business Expo


@festivalofinnov, #InnovateMalvern, #entrepreneurship, #SMEs, #business


This is the day devoted to instilling innovation in the heart of your business. Whether you need to protect intellectual property, secure funding, start a new venture, grow an existing enterprise or expand overseas, this session focuses on how to think creatively in your business operations. This year we are combining a programme of talks, case studies and an elevator pitching session with the Chamber's Business Expo. So this is a great way to reinvigorate your entrepreneurial spirit.


Programme subject to change. 




Registration opens

(Main / Entrance Foyer, Perry Suite)

Further details about the Business Expo are shown on this page below the programme.




(Perry Suite)


Keynote: The Design Paradigm 

There is a clear business-case for using rigorous Design Process and Creative Thinking tools in early stage innovation; more innovative & appealing products, simpler manufacturing, quicker responsiveness, and shorter product-development timescales. All of which leads to greater product resilience, customer satisfaction, less aftersales resource and ultimately better profitability.


Sebastian Conran, Chief Executive Officer, Sebastian Conran Associates

Sebastian Conran calls himself a ‘closet inventor’ and is often found in his workshop. A founding trustee of The Design Museum, he is also a keen advocate of design process and creative thinking, describing his approach as both playful and pragmatic; transforming Science, Technology and Engineering into User Experience, Consumer Lifestyle and Social Culture. He is also Designer in Residence at University of Sheffield’s Science and Engineering faculty.

@sebbconran, @SCAstudio



The Design Challenge:  Making a Game Changer

With innovative product design there comes a point when a product idea can become a game changer. A game changer is a product that disrupts the existing market, creates a new market sector and has the potential to transform a business and industry; the challenge in the design process is recognising this and the reasons why. Identifying when you have a ‘game changer’ doesn’t come easily; convincing key stakeholders that this is amazing can also be a tall order as any deviation from the norm can feel risky. Even validation with your core target market can return lukewarm feedback as a radical product can seem totally foreign to a person who is so used to the status quo. Retaining clarity of the essence of the product and uncompromisingly sticking to this vision is the key to success. 



Chris Vagges, Product Design Manager, Gtech

Chris Vagges graduated from Loughborough University and has worked in the design industry for 12 years and has been Product Design Manager at Gtech for the last 5 years. Under his watch Gtech have released the AirRAM and MULTI vacuum cleaner products, and since the release of these in 2012 and 2013 respectively the turnover of Gtech has increased from £4 million to £75 million. Focusing on understanding customers’ needs and developing innovative products that meet and beat expectation is the goal. Driving and delivering innovation was recognised in 2015 when Gtech won the Queens Award for Enterprise in the innovation category, for which Chris personally collected the award from Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.


Tea / Coffee Break

Networking and opportunity to visit the Business Expo



Business Leaders' & Entrepreneurs' Session


Exploring Innovation through Entrepreneurship

Innovation has fast become a buzz word in the boardrooms of businesses big and small. Often we believe innovation is for those few geniuses who come up with a big idea that changes the world, but is this really the case?  This talk explores how bite-size innovations change businesses, change industries and change the world; and they often come from the least expected places.


Simon Jenner, Serial Entrepreneur & Co-founder of Urban Coffee Company

Simon studied IT at University and started his career working for BT’s R&D division. Aged 26, he started Trinity Security Services, an IT security professional services company which he successfully exited via a trade sale in 2008. Simon is now involved in multiple business start-ups including the Urban Coffee Company and numerous initiatives in and around Birmingham to promote entrepreneurship. He founded Birmingham Entrepreneurs and co-founded Silicon Canal; Birmingham’s answer to London’s Tech City. 

@simonjenner, @urbancoffeeco



Financing Innovation in your Business

Financing any business, whether large or small, can often be one of the biggest challenges to running a company. This is even more true for small companies and especially if they have innovative but unproven products or services. Most companies only ever think of debt or equity funding but there are many different sources of grants, tax incentives and other such finance available that is not being exploited. Even if considered, many discard the idea as being too difficult to explore. Here we try to dispel those myths and help businesses to finance innovation.


Kevin Smith, Author & CEO of AWS International Business Development

Kevin is Chairman of Aspen Waite Accountants, CEO of AWS International Business Development, and non executive director of a number of other companies both in the UK and overseas. His career has spanned banking, secondment to the British Government as a business advisor, and acting as a consultant for large and small businesses globally. He has been a published author for over 20 years on many aspects of growing a business but his main focus is on SMEs. 




Protecting your Business from Cyber Crime

There are a few simple things that companies can do to increase their online protection significantly. This is important so as to protect your business from fraud, but also to safeguard your valuable intellectual property as well as that of your supply chain and the privacy of your customers. This talk will highlight the government’s new basic level cyber security certification called Cyber Essentials (which is now required with many government contracts) as well as the government’s ‘Cyber Streetwise’ campaign to help small companies improve their IT security.


Dr Emma Philpott, CEO of The IASME Consortium Ltd

Emma is the CEO of IASME and MD of the social enterprise UK Cyber Security Forum CIC. During her career, she has worked in a number of technical and management roles including as General Manager at Cientifica Singapore and Manager of the SERC Nanofabrication and Characterisation at the Institute of Materials Research & Engineering in Singapore. Prior to this, Emma was Business Group Manager of Aerospace facilities at QinetiQ and Assistant Director of the Structural Materials Centre, Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. 

@emphilpott, @IASME1



Lunch Break & Networking in Business Expo

(Severn Hall)



Entrepreneurs' Pitching Session 

(Perry Suite)

Join us to hear a selection of budding entrepreneurs pitch to an expert panel about their business idea to raise finance, seek collaboration or build their management team.  Panel members, in alphabetical order, were:

    DBozward          SJenner            

          David Bozward                           Simon Jenner      

              @bozward                                @simonjenner          


Simon is speaking earlier in the day and his biography is given above. David Bozward is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at University of Worcester.


We're looking forward to hearing pitches from (in alphabetical order):

  • John Anderson, MD of Andbarb which supplies innovative fasteners distributed by the Web for 3D Printing in polymer or metal. The product is globally patented and increases productivity, quality, and profit, while combating counterfeiting.
  • Barry Jackson, MD of Aspire Academy that helps young people develop strategies for accessing the unadvertised job market.
  • Mary Matthews, Founding Director of Memrica, provider of Memrica Prompt; a back up memory app for people who can't recall essential information due to stress, disease (such as early dementia) or injury. It provides contextual reminders about people, places and events to increase social confidence and prolong independence.  @memrica
  • Vadera Vaibhav, Founder of Snorkkel UK offering sophisticated, ultra hi-tec clothing and wearable tech such as smart t-shirts and socks to the consumer and amateur athlete market.
  • Howard Yates, Founder of Tento that has patented a system for producing one-time passwords from unique personal tokens stored in your phone or PC, called TentoIDs.  @tento_uk 



Tea / Coffee & Networking







BusinessExpoThe exhibition area on this day is the concurrent HW Chamber Business Expo in the Severn Hall.  Numerous companies will be on show and there will be ample opportunity to connect with relevant businesses and organisations from around the two counties of Herefordshire & Worcestershire.



In addition, we're collaborating with WInnCo / Worcestershire Innovation Wednesday's Innovation Zone to feature small businesses from around Malvern who would ordinarily be too small to feature at the Business Expo. These are members of the Malvern Small Business Forum and resident companies of the Wyche Innovation Centre:

MSBFNewLogo 185x76

The Malvern Small Business Forum meets monthly in Great Malvern to help small businesses and entrepreneurs to connect and share best practice. The forum is free to join and attend, offering opportunities to present and to listen to others experienced in different aspects of running a business. 


Some of the businesses from the Forum on show include:

KilburnStrode RebeccaEdmondsCH  SlimForGood TBOMalvernHills  Trans4mationalChange  TurlandCo

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The Wyche Innovation Centre is a business accelerator and technology incubator situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the side of the Malvern Hills. It is home to over 40 businesses & organisations operating from serviced offices, hot desks or as a virtual office.  



Some of the businesses from the Centre on show include:






Don't forget that later this evening we have our Formal Dinner at Malvern College with guest speaker David Wood, a pioneer of the smart phone industry.


2015 Sponsors

Thank you to all our 2015 Sponsors and Supporters 

Festival organised by       

In association with            

And with support from 


InnovateMalvern MHDClogo






Platinum Sponsors        
 CiscoLogo IDSIndata QQlogo  

Gold Sponsors



HPLogo WCClogo      
Silver Sponsors      

Next Generation Innovators day:

MalvernLogo 108x51

Cyber Security & Big Data day:






Bronze Sponsors        

Cyber Security & Big Data day:






The Business of Innovating day:


VIP Breakfast Sponsor   Travel Partners    

Cyber Security & Big Data day:




The Innovation Express



The Innovation Shuttles