Leicestershire Innovation Festival – Thinking Differently for Business Growth, a celebration of our life sciences business, innovation and growth


Part of a series of events to support the growth and success of the life science organisations clustered around Charnwood Campus Science, Innovation and Technology Park

Business leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and stakeholders gathered at Charnwood Campus to celebrate our innovative life sciences business and to share how they have thought differently to grow their business.

Our keynote speakers shared their insights as to why innovation is the cornerstone of success. Using innovation to adapt to changing markets and disruptive external factors not only helps ensure business continuity but also gives competitive advantage over competition. It has also been refreshing to hear how innovate thinking  is supporting staff personal development, growing the skill base and entrepreneurial mindset. This event is the first event delivered in the new strategic partnership between Charnwood Campus and Medilink Midlands, was run under Medilink Midlands’ SoLSTICE project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Gosia Khrais, Commercial Director at Charnwood Campus said: “We have been encouraged today to break the barriers and think outside of the box by some of the most inspiring business leaders in the region. It is a pleasure and a privilege to organise these type of events and I would wholeheartedly encourage businesses clustered around Loughborough to use these as opportunities to learn from other people’s successes and failures. Join our extensive  programme of events, tailored business support, expert networks and mentoring workshops as attendees, as speakers, as mentors. We have some strong expertise and skills out there and our role as an established Science, Innovation and Technology Park is to bring it all together and facilitate sharing of ideas, experiences and knowledge to have a lasting positive impact on our economy and improved healthcare outcomes”.

Chris Barker from Spirit Health said: “being able to share how our innovative approach to business growth and focus on our people, which allows our people to be vulnerable, innovative and resilient is very important. Companies in our region can see how this mindset has helped us grow into a multi award winning company that has had a huge impact in making healthcare easy, accessible and affordable for all”.

Ross Burn from CatSci  said: “having an entrepreneurial mindset, was pivotal to the establishment of CatSci Ltd in 2011. It is essential to keep learning and growing, as a team and an individual, this has been instrumental to being able pivot from a catalyst screening company to the award-winning innovation partner for medicines development that we are today”.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, said: “I enjoyed opening the event and being part of the panel discussion alongside other distinguished guests, who shared their innovative journeys, provided great in-depth advice and answered excellent questions from the audience on how to scale up innovative businesses”.

“Innovation, alongside investing in continuous improvement and R&D, have been fundamental to the growth of my business Morningside Pharmaceuticals over the past 30 years. It was great to hear first-hand how thinking different, developing our people, learning from challenges, and embracing new technologies have led to significant growth for locally based businesses in the Life Sciences Sector.”

Karen Holland from XCAM revealed how the “lifestyle” business grew from a pigsty to a cow shed to an award winning sustainable company located in state of the art cleanrooms covering production and development facilities with many innovative and space age projects.

Tim Robinson and Julian Patel talked through the how you can get involved with newly launched East Midlands Academic Health Science Network Innovation Academy. The Academy has been designed for those who would like to gain an understanding of how the NHS takes forward new innovative products to improve patient care and outcomes.

Kate Pym gave a fascinating talk covering some of the challenges regards accessing the NHS with an innovative product and covered case studies on the development of a novel mental health solution and a new patient monitoring alarm system.

Darren Clark, Chief Executive of Medilink Midlands, and event Chair said: “The discussion today between the delegates, the speakers in both the talks and the panel session shows the commitment this region has to business success and growth. This is the first in a series of joint events between Charnwood Campus and Medilink Midlands designed to support and grow the regions life sciences cluster and we are very much looking forward to our next event here at the Campus.”

Lucy Alexander, Head of Business Development, Charnwood Campus said: “It was wonderful to hear the passion in the room, we really have missed this type of peer to peer learning over the past two years. Our business support programme will focus on supporting the companies in the Charnwood cluster through our events, mentoring and peer to peer learning as well as providing recruitment and upskilling support through newly established Life Sciences Talent and Skills Institute in collaboration with our regions universities and colleges”.

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