Businesses invited to cutting-edge Worcestershire innovation event

Worcester is gearing up to host one of the UK’s most innovative business events of the year in the iconic Hive library from May 23-24, organised by WINN – the county’s multi-faceted innovation programme.

The jam-packed two-day event showcases the very best of the county’s entrepreneurial might both past and present, and brings together a programme of workshops and presentations from the region’s most inspirational innovators across a range of industry sectors, including tech, renewables, science, finance and business development.

Entry to the Great Things event is free and access to presentations and workshops with industry sector leaders is £5 per ticket, bookable online at the WINN website.

The event juxtaposes cutting-edge modern innovation with interesting historical detail inspired by the county’s original Worcestershire Exhibition of 1882.

The vast atrium of the Hive will introduce aspects of the county’s 1882 response to the original Great Exhibition of 1851. The landmark event brought the county’s 19th century innovation together at Shrub Hill Engine Shed hosting displays of fine art and industrial machinery and generated enough profit for the Victorian Institute and Library to be built, now better known as the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum.

The Great Things event features a range of eye-popping interactive displays including virtual, augmented and mixed reality demos presented by Birmingham University, interactive ‘magic mirror’ photography with an 18th-century twist and an innovation stand from Young Enterprise. Each of the Great Things 30 speakers will also have a stand at the event as well as further innovative and inspiring businesses from around the county.

To celebrate the event’s historic roots, the glass room on Level Zero will be decorated in 18th-century decor and the event will feature an 18th-century pop-up coffee house, courtesy of Wayland’s Yard. Originally these 18th century coffee houses were known as ‘penny universities’ and were a hotbed of ideas. Sam Smith, director of Waylands, says “We’re excited to be collaborating with Method on the pop-up coffee shop for this event – and it’s a great opportunity to spread the word about our new shared roastery/coffee shop that we plan to open up this summer in the railway arches, which is due to open in June.”

From the original 19th-century Exhibition catalogue examples of company adverts, will be available. Three businesses that were featured back in 1882 are still operating today, including Lea & Perrins (under Heinz), Royal Worcester Porcelain (under Portmeirion Group UK) and Josiah Stallard & sons (now Malpas Stallard Limited).

Bringing it up to date, the event also showcases some of the county’s most notable inventors and creators – with many successful SMEs that have been through the Worcestershire County Council’s Proof of Concept programme bringing along their successful products to represent innovation of today.

The WINN Wednesday event on the evening of May 23 from 5-8.30pm features a keynote speech from Simone Robinson of Google Digital Garage, and focuses on social media strategy.

Jess Antley, from WINN, who has organised the event said: “This event represents the inspiration and determination of creators and inventors past and present, and it is so rewarding to see that the region’s entrepreneurial spirit is still powering us forwards. We’re so thankful to all our sponsors, and also to the presenters who have all shown themselves to be innovators within their field – and who are giving freely of their time to help encourage and inspire others,” 

“Whether you want to upskill yourself or your team from some of the very best innovators, or if you’re personally interested from a historical perspective, it really will be a fascinating Don’t Miss event,” she said. “There’s lots of information on the WINN website and you can also follow event updates using the hashtag #GreatThingsEvent.”

Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure – Councillor Ken Pollock said: “The ‘Great Things 2018’ event is an real opportunity for Worcestershire’s businesses, students and entrepreneurs to ensure they are maximising the business possibilities the county has to offer. The event enables Worcestershire’s innovators to come together and showcase the county as a real hub for innovation, both now and in the future. This event is a clear commitment of our intention to ensure Worcestershire remains Open for Business.”




Pictured: Great Things event organiser, WINN’s Jess Antley says she hopes the event will inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs in the region.