VentureFest Tees Valley announce Innovation Showcase winners

Businesses from every corner of Teesside have responded to the call out for transformative ideas to be showcased as part of the region’s innovation conference.

Darlington-based CRESS Systems, whose innovative engineering expertise is enabling shipping container ports to reduce their environmental impact and save money, is one of eight businesses to take centre-stage as part of the Innovation Showcase at VentureFest Tees Valley.

CRESS Systems’ patented technology has the potential to be applied across sectors on a global scale to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of heavy industry. Richard Bradshaw, Chief Executive said: “A huge challenge faced by heavy industry is reducing waste and tackling environmental impact. Our technology, suits the high-power and heavy-duty needs of industrial users. The application helps cranes reduce consumption by storing previously wasted energy, not only reducing emissions for ports and supporting sustainable global trade, but also saving on costs. We’re delighted to have won the opportunity to exhibit at VentureFest Tees Valley.”

Also exhibiting is Eaglescliffe-based automotive component manufacturer, Nifco UK. Part of a project to unlock the potential of the UK supply chain, Nifco has developed an innovative thermoplastic oil pan, weighing 1kg less than its steel equivalent, to support the manufacture of lighter and more fuel-efficient powertrains. The part is one of the outcomes of the Jaguar Land Rover ALIVE6 project, which was launched last year, to create a prototype engine incorporating many new and cutting-edge technologies.

Organisers of VentureFest Tees Valley launched a search at the start of the year with innovation experts RTC North to uncover businesses with big ideas and the ambition to do things differently.

Jamie Ollivere, Sales and Marketing Director at RTC North, said: “RTC North is proud to work with innovative local businesses and we are continuously impressed by the exciting developments that take place, daily, across the Tees Valley. The area’s innovative spirit continuously lifts the region above competitors on a global stage and I’m delighted we’re able to help shine a light on these eight businesses who are doing truly exciting work, for the benefit of industry and society.”

Meet the Innovators:

  • CourseBox
  • CRESS Systems
  • Discover Donate
  • GetOrthopaedics
  • Hyper Smart
  • Micropore
  • Nifco
  • Tracerco

Those selected will be given a platform to demonstrate their ideas to an audience of 500 businesspeople and investors during VentureFest Tees Valley’s Innovation Showcase on Tuesday 22 May at Wynyard Hall.

Simon Green, Director of VentureFest Tees Valley, said: “Innovation is all about improving products or services for the benefit of society or industry. It solves problems in creative ways by using new technology and processes, or by utilising existing systems in a new way.

“This year’s innovation showcase at VentureFest Tees Valley brings together a truly varied selection of businesses, all of which have brought a fresh perspective to challenges from a range of sectors, from automotive and healthcare to training and the third sector. We’re excited to be giving these ground-breaking businesses a platform to share their ideas.”

Venturefest Tees Valley’s founding partners are Innovate Tees Valley (the innovation support programme run by Teesside University, NEPIC, the Materials Processing Institute and Digital City), Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Knowledge Transfer Network.

VentureFest Tees Valley aims to bring together businesses, investors and innovators from across the Tees Valley to share ideas, explore opportunities, grow new networks and raise investment.

The day is all about giving businesses access to practical tools, ideas and expertise that can accelerate innovation, leading to growth and employment opportunities.

VentureFest Tees Valley is free to attend, and registration is open now at

The event receives funding from the £6.5m Innovate Tees Valley programme, led by Teesside University with partners NEPIC, the Materials Processing Institute and Digital City and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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