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Welsh innovators set to showcase pioneering work

Wales Festival of Innovation

Businesses and organisations in Wales which develop ground-breaking products, services and processes are being urged to open their doors this summer to show off their ideas and expertise.

The aim is to help embed innovation as a major engine of Welsh economic growth, with the potential to increase national earnings by hundreds of millions of pounds each year and create thousands of new jobs.

Following the success of the pilot Wales Festival of Innovation in 2014, in which around 40 firms and university technology teams took part, organisers have decided to host an enlarged programme of events throughout June 2015.

The Festival is organised jointly by ESTnet, the electronics and software technologies network for Wales, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the Welsh Government.

During the month-long ‘celebration’ of new ideas and achievements, workshops, exhibitions, open days, demonstrations, lectures and conferences will be held across the country to give business people, students and the general public an insight into the wealth of ground-breaking work being done by scientists and entrepreneurs in Wales.

The initiative is designed to inspire more businesses and individuals from all sectors involved to bring forward new ideas and also to establish Wales in the eyes of potential investors and the wider business world as a hotbed of fresh thinking.

In addition, it aims to facilitate new contacts and exchange of ideas that will generate collaborations and spawn a new generation of innovative products and solutions.

Said Festival spokesman Idris Price: “It’s important that people know about the huge range of world-class innovation already taking place here. Much of it is behind the scenes because it involves enabling technology which makes possible the higher-profile products on the market, particularly electronic devices and software systems. By showcasing this ground-breaking work we will build confidence in Wales as a place where profitable new developments are part and parcel of the culture.”

He pointed to the UK Innovation Survey which found that just over 40% of Welsh firms with more than 10 employees were ‘innovation ready’ and that 22.5% of Welsh company turnover is currently generated from new or significantly improved products.

Dr Steve Welch from KTN said: “The Festival aims to capture the totality of what’s happening in Wales, which is so rich in innovative companies.  By bringing all these events together in June, we can grow the potential of the activity and give the participants an opportunity to show everyone what is going on.”

Among those reporting business benefits from last year’s festival was Cardiff-based specialist wafer manufacturer IQE. Director Chris Meadows said the firm’s “OpenIQE” innovation event held in North Wales as part of the 2014 festival, had yielded several new opportunities and potential partnerships which are now developing leading-edge products.

The decision to hold another innovation festival is another milestone in Wales’ drive for innovation, following the launch of the new Innovation Advisory Council for Wales, a public and private sector partnership which will advise Welsh Government on how to help industry to exploit knowledge and expertise.

Ian Menzies, co-chair of the new Council also urged businesses to get involved in the Festival. He said: “We need new ideas to stay competitive, new technologies to improve lives, and new insights to lead the way. The Festival showcases what’s coming next, and highlights how Wales is already leading the way.”

Businesses, universities and other organisations can register to organise or host events during the festival by visiting the website

Further information from Eoghan Mortell 029 2045 5182 or 07977 555116