• £1billion over the next four years available for research into science and technology announced by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)


More than a billion pounds of opportunities will be on offer to the South’s innovators, businesses and start-ups at #VFS21: Festival of Innovation on Thursday 21st October – the fifth annual showcase event from the Venturefest South programme.


#VFS21 partner DSTL will be announcing an impressive £1billion for science and technology research across the UK at the event, to be held at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton. In addition, more VFS partners will also be unveiling a raft of support, funding and investment opportunities designed to help businesses and innovators to grow and succeed.


These include:


  • BAE Systems’ Innovation Labs will be inviting #VFS21 delegates to explore partnering and funding opportunities on joint interests;
  • University of Southampton is offering funded support for collaborative research and development, and delivering innovation projects for local businesses;
  • University of Portsmouth will give delegates access to its exciting new initiatives, including the Creative and Immersive Extended Reality Centre and the Centre for Enzyme Innovation;
  • Portsmouth City Council’s Economic Growth team will be on hand to provide business support for start-ups through to growth, with advice on grants and loans, as well as access to mentoring, learning and development initiatives;
  • Funding and R&D gurus Catax is giving business support to access an estimated £16bn in tax credits owed to businesses in the South;
  • Offers of support, guidance and funding from other #VFS21 partners and sponsors, including Solent University, Fareham College, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Carswell Gould, Greentech South and many more.


The annual Venturefest South Festival of Innovation showcase is one of the fastest-growing innovation communities in the UK and a unique platform for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs to turn great ideas into brilliant business success in the South.


The inspirational one-day event has a jam-packed schedule, find out more at  https://venturefestsouth.co.uk/schedule This includes Innovation Talks with speakers who will give a unique insight into driving innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability and business growth.


New this year is the unique Navigating Net Zero event with Maritime UK Solent. This exclusive hub will bring together some of the region’s leading businesses to explore, debate and design new routes to Net Zero. Delegates will have an opportunity to find out more about what they can do to make a positive difference to the climate challenge.


Ed Gould, Creative Director at Carswell Gould and #VFS21 partner said: “Venturefest South proudly showcases all that is great about the South’s innovation ecosystem.


“At a time when looking forward rather than back is essential for economic prosperity, we are delighted that VFS partners are able to announce these great funding and support opportunities at the VFS21: Festival of Innovation. If you have an idea for a business or you’re already running one, this event is a must.”

John Challen, R&D Director at Catax said:  “The average R&D tax credit claim for companies in the south-east was worth £104,000 in 2019/20, whereas in the south-west that fell to just £55,000. The risk is that many businesses are under-claiming and thousands more eligible firms aren’t claiming at all, so we are offering all delegates support so they can find out if they have money owed.”


You can book both live and hybrid #VFS21 event tickets by clicking here.