Partnerships and Enterprise

Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2023

The University of Leicester is proud to sponsor the Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2023, which runs from 6 – 17 February and features a packed programme of events aimed at helping increase business productivity. The Leicestershire Innovation Festival, now in its fifth year, is an annual two-week festival celebrating business innovations – both big and small – from across our region.

The theme of this year’s festival is productivity, with a focus on thinking differently about products, services, processes and customers to help businesses improve their efficiency, profits, sustainability and competitiveness. 

The festival will provide new insights, tools and contacts, and give businesses an overview of how to navigate the innovation landscape and how to use cutting-edge research.

This year’s festival features more than 20 events, many of which will be led by or in partnership with the University. These include a launch event at Loughborough University Stadium on 6 February, and a special Productivity and Innovation Friday event at the University of Leicester’s School of Business on 17 February which will bring the festival to a close.

Booking details for University of Leicester events are below, and for the full Leicestershire Innovation Festival schedule please visit the Business Gateway Growth Hub website.

For more information on Innovation at Leicester please contact the Leicester Innovation Hub at

Cosmic Coffee

Tuesday 7 February, 2.00pm – 3.00pm, Space Park Leicester

Cosmic Coffee is a monthly community support event designed to provide a platform for those working in and around the space community in the Midlands. It gives people the opportunity to come together to share ideas, receive updates about what is going on and to network with others working in this exciting and expanding sector. So, if you are already working in or interested in getting involved with space, this event is for you.

Book your place

How Innovate UK can help your business to innovate and thrive

Wednesday 8 February, 10.30am – 12.00pm, Leicester Innovation Hub

Innovate UK is the national agency supporting businesses, large and small, on their innovation journey. The agency helps businesses to test and prototype their ideas, to network with like-minded innovators and industry experts, to develop their business strategy and to get them investment ready. At this event speakers from Innovate UK, Innovate UK KTN, Innovate Edge and the Catapult Network will talk about the services on offer and be on hand to answer any questions.

Book your place

Working with the University partnership to grow your business

Wednesday 8 February, 1.00pm – 3.00pm, De Montfort University, the Innovation Centre 49 Oxford Street Leicester LE1 5XY

This event, which includes lunch and networking, will be sharing how businesses can benefit from working with the three Leicester universities in the form of placements, graduate employment and funded projects. This interactive event will give insights on best practice when working with higher education and graduate talent, and how to obtain the expertise of our academics who lead in their field so that you can innovate within your business. There will be speakers from the University of Leicester, De Montfort University and Loughborough University.

Book your place

Productivity and Innovation Friday

Friday 17 February, 10.00am – 2.00pm, University of Leicester’s School of Business, Brookfield Campus

February's Innovation Friday is the final day of the Innovation Festival 2023. Innovation Friday’s bring together our community innovating businesses, enterprising researchers, academics, students and graduates all interested in meeting like-minded people to talk about projects and businesses they are growing to make a success. Join this event for networking, nibbles and short talks to learn more about ways to help your productivity, increase your profits and grow more. 

Book your place

Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2022

2022's Leicestershire Innovation Festival took place between 14 and 25 February and featured a packed programme of engaging events showcasing some of the best in innovation our county has to offer. Covering subjects as diverse as Sustainability, Manufacturing, Entertainment, Wellbeing and Innovation Funding, the Innovation Festival provided new insights, tools, contacts and an overview of how to navigate the innovation landscape and cutting-edge research to elevate your business.

Browse the details of the events which took place in 2022.

How local businesses have used innovation successfully on their journey to net zero at Space Park Leicester

Monday 14 February 8.00am

The Midlands is the manufacturing heartland of the UK, with unrivalled expertise and capacity to make and apply low carbon hydrogen technologies to deliver net zero. It is hydrogen technologies that have the power to connect hydrogen generators and end users – and it is the Midlands that has the power to make those technologies, for use in areas as diverse as transport, domestic heating and off grid power supplies.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chair of Leicestershire Innovation Board, introduced three keynote speakers; Dennis Hayter, Vice-President Business Development, at Intelligent Energy shared “21 years of fuel cell technology – innovation highlights”. Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex spoke about “Toward Net Zero: Stimulus for Innovation’. Peter Ware, Green Growth Board Chairman, from Midlands Engine explained the pivotal role the Midlands can play in low carbon hydrogen, to achieve government ambitions to unlock the vast potential of hydrogen, in the nation’s journey to net zero and sustainable growth.

Intelligent Energy is the leading UK developer and a global supplier of hydrogen fuel cell technology. Its planned new Gigawatt-scale fuel cell production facilities will put the East Midlands at the forefront of zero emission fuel cell power product supply for the global hydrogen economy. Cenex focuses on low-emission transport and associated energy infrastructure. Both businesses have contributed to the Midlands Engine Hydrogen Technologies Strategy, which in turn is part of the Ten Point Plan for Green Growth which is galvanising action for a cleaner, greener Midlands.

Other speakers included Rachel York from the Business Gateway, Julian Bowery from Innovate UK and Sue Tilley from the LLEP and STAR Accelerator. Followed by a Q&A session hosted by Charlotte Horobin, Regional Director MAKE UK and Midlands Engine Business Forum, as well as a tour of the Space Park with Will Wells and Omer Ozkirimli.

The finance escalator – A look at the different finance requirements for businesses from early-stage finance, at start up through to growth finance for expansion – Innovate UK and partners

Wednesday 16 February 10.00am

This session took place at the Leicester Innovation Hub and provided an overview of the types of finance and support available, from grants, business angels, venture capitalists, debt finance, private equity and Government.

How the Innovate UK family can help your business grow

Monday 21 February 1.00pm

This session took place at the Leicester Innovation Hub and was a showcase by Innovate UK, Innovate EDGE, KtN and KtP of the support available to your business through innovation. 

Innovation Friday - innovation funding and opportunities

Friday 25 February 10.00am 

This 'Innovation Friday' was a ‘face to face’, real world meet up at the Brookfield Campus, London Road, in the newly refurbished School of Business buildings and took place as part of Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2022.

Participants met the Innovation experts, identified sources of funding for their projects and networked with other businesses from across our region.

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