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Every company has intellectual property: it’s time to make it pay

IP expert Elliott Davies at Cardiff-based IP specialists Wynne-Jones IP, a sponsor of Venturefest Wales, provides insight into how intellectual property can benefit your business.

What is intellectual property (IP), you might ask?

IP is a term used to describe ‘creations of the mind’ such as inventions, company names, logos, images, literary works, art and music.

What vehicles exist to legally protect IP?

  • Technology that is novel and inventive can be protected by patents and is called an invention.
  • A new brand or business name can be protected by filing a registered trade mark.
  • If you have created a new aesthetically pleasing product, then you could look to protect its appearance by filing a registered design application.
  • Copyright exists on works of art, writings and music.
  • To guarantee that you have the correct protection, speak to a specialist IP attorney.

So how do I go about this?

You need to ask yourself two questions:

The first question to ask yourself is, “What IP do I have in my company?”

The second question is, “Can I protect it legally to add value or create profit for my company?”

IP protected legally is known as an ‘IP Right’. Protecting this will require spending money, so why would you do so?

  1. You can charge higher prices than the competition can

A good illustration of this is the pharmaceutical industry. When paracetamol was protected by patents and marketed as Panadol, the makers could charge a premium price for the product because no other competitors could copy and profits were high. Unfortunately, the first patents on the use of paracetamol have long expired and now generic paracetamol is made by many companies and sold widely, and very cheaply.

  1. You can protect and even enhance your market share

Companies that can make products or services unique and protect the IP rights typically capture a bigger market share than those that don’t. Smaller companies do not normally have to go to the expense of lawsuits; being able to publicise that you have IP for a particular IP in your company and sending a legally worded letter to any competitor who is copying you, is often enough to deter companies.

  1. Your IP is an asset and it can have a value on your balance sheet

There is software that is commercially available now to value your IP. The value can be listed on a company balance sheet as an asset, thus increasing the value of your company. This can make your company more attractive to investors. In fact, some investors insist on IP protection being in place before they will invest.

  1. You can get considerable tax savings or rebates on patents from HMRC

Finally, if you are looking to protect an invention by filing for a patent, you can benefit from tax savings. The Patent Box Legislation was introduced in 2013, and enables firms to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits made from patented products

 

Do’s and don’ts

  • Do determine whether you have IP in your company and whether or not you wish to protect it legally.
  • Don’t choose a new company name or create a brand name or copy another company’s design or technology without first checking whether it has been protected by the relevant IP right.

Once you have your IP rights, make sure you publicise them to ensure no company tries to copy your creation.

Wynne-Jones IP is a firm of Intellectual Property specialists that have been based in Cardiff, Telford and Cheltenham for over fifty years. The firm advises businesses and inventors in a wide range of sectors worldwide on all aspects of patents, trade marks, design rights and copyright.

For further advice from Wynne-Jones IP, follow them on Twitter @IP_Expert.

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Wales Technology Seed Fund: Finance Wales answers entrepreneurs’ questions

If you’re a tech start-up or entrepreneur you’ll know it’s essential to secure seed and early growth funding to get your business idea off the ground. There are lots of options out there from crowdfunders, to banks, to venture capital firms. However it can be difficult to secure that initial investment – especially as many science and technology companies are seen as high risk.

That’s why the Welsh Government launched the Wales Technology Seed Fund in2014. Managed by Finance Wales the £7.5 million fund works with early growth companies based in, or willing to move to, Wales. They’ve recently celebrated investing £3 million across 21 companies – leveraging £3 million in co-investment.

The Entrepreneur Wales Awards recently put start-up’s questions to the fund’s manager – Dr Melanie Goward. Watch what she had to say about getting investment from the fund in the video below.

 

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Turn Lights On at Venturefest for a third year running

Turn Lights On has hosted a stage at Venturefest for three years running now. Venturefest is about inspiring and educating business owners along with connecting investors with entrepreneurs, and we are thrilled for this to be our third year of hosting the Turn Lights On stage.

The event has an energy and vibrancy about it as people are there to learn, grow and connect. With an agenda like that the atmosphere is electric, I spend the day smiling and being constantly inspired, returning back to my own business with a mountain of ideas and the sense of me not being on my own.

So what happens on The Turn Lights On stage?

This year we are inviting entrepreneurs to talk about how they have overcome barriers in their business and how did they coped. Having your own business is painful sometimes and it’s so important for people to share how they deal with celebration, the pressure, highs and the lows.  It’s important to share all what comes with business it’s not all about the balance sheets and strategy. Having something that requires so much of your energy and passion is personal thing and it will affect your relationships and your confidence. Emotional intelligence and understanding yourself makes the ride far less painful so this is our main mission for this stage to help you to be emotionally ready and armed for your business.

What you can expect?

Hearing how it really is from the people that live and breathe it. This stage is not filled with good intentioned experts, this is from entrepreneurs that have experienced first-hand on how to deal with the barriers that will happen in growing your business. I know from first-hand experience your network is critical to your success as we do have a tendency to think that we are the only people going through challenges at the time. There is nothing better than hearing from someone in your position say “I know how you feel and it happened to me and I did this!”

There will be a lively question and answers session so if you have any current challenge you can share what is on your mind and one of the entrepreneurs could support you to finding your answer. The talks start from 9.30 until 1.30 28th  September.

To end I thought I would share with you Warren’s blog about all the things he has learnt on his journey of being a successful entrepreneur and how hard it is at times.  We have been lucky to have Warren speak on the Turn Lights On stage for all the years we have been there and this year he is my first speaker at 9.45am. Come and see him as he is a fantastic speaker that leaves you inspired and informed!

Georgina Jones  will host the live ‘Turn Lights On’ sessions at Venturefest Wales. 

 

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Creating a National Imperative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Ashley Cooper is Chair of Venturefest Wales 2016 and Director of Catalyst Growth Partners.

In 2015, supported by the then Economy Minister Edwina Hart, Wales enrolled on the internationally accredited Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP). REAP is a capstone global initiative at MIT, designed to help regions accelerate economic growth and job creation through innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). Partner regions form multi-disciplinary teams commit to a two-year learning engagement with MIT. During this engagement, teams work with world-renowned MIT faculty and the broader REAP community through a series of action-learning activities to build and implement a custom regional strategy for enhancing their IDE ecosystems.

The program admits 8-10 partner regions annually to participate in the two-year engagement, with a typical REAP region usually having a population of 3-10 million people. Each partner region has a team comprised of 5-7 highly driven and influential local members and is headed by a regional champion. All five major stakeholder groups are represented in the REAP TEAM: government, corporate, academia, risk capital, and the entrepreneurial community.

As an active member of the TEAM Wales MIT REAP panel and Chair of Venturefest Wales 2016, Ashley Cooper has been working with the Venturefest Wales Advisory Board to design a program for this year’s event which truly brings together the 5 key stakeholder groups in Wales:

  • Government will be represented by multiple elements of Business Wales, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Accelerated Growth, Innovation Point, Innovate UK and more
  • Corporate will be represented by multiple speakers, sponsors and participants from an array of Anchor Companies & Regionally Important Companies (RICs) and ESTNet members
  • Welsh Universities are represented by both our Board members and as exhibitors
  • Our Risk Capital community is represented better than ever before by three fantastic funding panels and keynote addresses from some of the most successful Welsh founders and Welsh businesses
  • Entrepreneurs will be present in numbers from Big Ideas Wales young start-ups, Accelerated Growth Programme businesses, the start-up village, ESTNet members and SMEs as a whole.

If you truly want to experience a unique environment of all five key elements of the Welsh Eco-System coming together in volume, then register for your free ticket to Venturefest Wales 2016.

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Success and investment for graduate’s app following chance meeting at Cardiff event

A budding entrepreneur and Cardiff-based tech business owner have found industry success with a new tech start-up following a chance meeting at a networking event in Wales’ capital.

Start-up company Ordoo is the brainchild of entrepreneur and university graduate, Tom Dewhurst, who came up with the concept whilst waiting for more than 15 minutes to place an order in a coffee shop queue. After identifying that the future of food and drink ordering was through advanced online payment, Tom began developing Ordoo; an app which allows people to pre-order and pay from their favourite cafes and coffee shops whilst ‘on the go’ before collecting their order from the venue at a later time.

Tom, Founder of Ordoo, said: “It occurred to me that if customers could place a food or drink order ahead of time before you got to the venue then this would allow them to skip the queue and save time. After conducting market research into the idea, I soon realised that no other business was offering this kind of technology to consumers and independent food and drink sites alike and so I decided to do something about it myself.”

As well as providing consumers with a digital gateway to order and pay in advance, and by doing so earn loyalty rewards, Ordoo is also a digital enabler for local independent businesses. The business model provides smaller independent venues access to the same technology that large corporates use at an affordable cost. By modernising their services through digital pre-payments at no up-front cost, local businesses are also able to streamline their services during their busiest periods which will ultimately allow them to take more orders and increase profit margins.

Last year, Tom attended collaboration and investment event Venturefest Wales at Cardiff’s SWALEC stadium to showcase his start-up idea to potential investors and network with fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders in a bid to gain valuable knowledge and form meaningful relationships. It was there that he crossed paths with Cardiff-based investor and CEO of software company LexAble, Neil Cottrell.

Neil was instantly impressed by Tom’s entrepreneurial attitude and innovative business idea and following an informal chat after the networking event, the businessmen established a mentor relationship. Initially, the mentor relationship consisted of regular phone calls, with Neil able to offer Tom advice having experienced similar opportunities and challenges during the growth stages of his business. However, more recently, Neil has taken the decision to join a string of other investors in backing Ordoo financially, as the Bath based app goes from strength to strength with plans to expand into more cities including Cardiff and London.

Neil, CEO of software company LexAble and partner of Ordoo, said: “I went to Venturefest Wales to meet enthusiastic entrepreneurs and see if any opportunities could come of it. I benefited hugely from a business mentor when I was in the early stages of my company and so it’s great to be in a position where I can become a mentor to Tom and hopefully give something back.

“Earlier this year Tom started to explore the possibility of seeking financial investment in Ordoo and I thought this was the perfect time for me to get involved in the company financially. Being a part of Ordoo at such an exciting time for the business has provided me with a new and inspiring project to focus on and while I hope I’ve been able to offer Tom useful advice, I have also learnt a great deal from his innovative approach to business.”

This year, Venturefest Wales will focus on breaking through the common business barriers that Welsh business leaders and entrepreneurs have identified are holding them back, as well as bringing together investors with academics, entrepreneurs and innovators to continue to create meaningful business partnerships.

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Setting the Scene

Chair of Venturefest Wales, Ashley Cooper gives an overview of what you can expect from our 2016 event

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Venturefest is a UK national initiative founded by Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), and Innovate UK working in association with local partners. Venturefest events bring together ideas, investment and expertise to accelerate transfer of innovation and technology into business growth.

In 2016 there are 11 Venturefest events set to take place across the UK, with Venturefest Wales taking place at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium on 28 September. We’re anticipating more than 1000 delegates from across a broad spectrum of Welsh business.

In 2015 Wales embarked on an international initiative under the umbrella of the MIT regional entrepreneurship acceleration program (REAP.) This program sees a team of senior Welsh representatives from across the ecosystem work together to grow innovation-driven enterprises within Wales.  The program focuses on bringing together five key elements of the ecosystem:

  • Government
  • Universities
  • Business
  • Funding / Risk Capital
  • Entrepreneurs

This program aligns completely with the objectives of Venturefest in bringing together all of the key elements to facilitate business growth.

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Venturefest Wales aims to bring together senior representation from each of the above five elements and to facilitate an interactive discussion among those key elements and to provide business founders, owners, managers, and executives with additional tools and information to grow their businesses.

In 2016 Venturefest Wales is focused on providing valuable content across each element of the business growth journey – from idea to start-up, to the early stage growth, to SME, to large corporate. At each stage of the business growth cycle there are specific challenges or barriers that any business routinely will face. The event will focus on addressing those challenges and giving our audience real quality input to help break through those barriers.

The key barriers that Venturefest Wales 2016 will address are; recruitment, people and team development, planning and forecasting, marketing and the use of social media, sales and business development, and the topic of innovation and intrapreneurship within an organisation – creating an entrepreneurial culture within a large corporate business.

Barrier-busting presentations will be delivered by industry experts, and a number of keynote presentations will be delivered by organisations and individuals who have experience in breaking through their own specific challenges.

Our Turn Lights On (TLO) stage will be a platform for business owners and entrepreneurs to tell their personal stories of challenges that they have had to overcome in building their businesses.

At each stage of a business cycle there comes a specific requirement to access funding to enable growth. While in some cases funding may be organically generated, often some level of external funding is essential. The ideal source and structure of funding can vary widely depending on the specific stage of growth for a particular business

Venturefest Wales will address different aspects of funding, including seed investment, and the key elements of initial capital-raising to start a business, growth funding for second stage growth, and Series A significant funding to move an entity into a major corporate player on a global scale.

Alongside the packed speaker schedule, Venturefest Wales will host a number of fringe events such as the Innovation Summit and a networking event for the Big Ideas Role Model network.

Venturefest Wales 2016 really will feature something for everyone. The content and quality of speakers is exceptional and the level of information and quality of networking opportunities on offer more than justify spending a full day with us in September.

Watch out for further information over the coming weeks as we reveal more key speakers and further details of the agenda.

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Venturefest returns to Wales for its third year with world record breaking speaker

Venturefest Wales is back for a third year, bringing investment and collaboration opportunities to Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium on 28 September 2016 in a bid to support business growth and inspire innovation in Wales.  The unique environment at Venturefest blends businesses of all sizes and individuals from a wide range of sectors together, with a view to connecting delegates with like-minded visionaries to share knowledge, ideas and networks.

In a first, this year’s event will focus on breaking through barriers, helping you find solutions to overcome the obstacles that are holding your business back. We’ve conducted market research to help us understand what businesspeople across Wales view as their main barriers to growth and success. Our free event will tackle issues surrounding the six key themes identified including: sales and business development, planning and forecasting, people development, marketing, recruitment, and technology and will have a major focus on funding for those innovative ideas and entrepreneurial businesses.

Richard Noble OBE is confirmed to speak at Venturefest Wales 2016

The first wave of event speakers have now been announced, and the line-up includes Richard Noble OBE, the renowned entrepreneur who held the land speed record for 14 years between 1983 and 1997 with Thrust2 and Thrust SSC, the first ever supersonic record breaker. Amid the low-risk culture of today’s world, Noble specialises in developing high risk ventures and will explore the business benefits of original and unconventional thinking.

 

He will speak alongside Bloodhound SSC design team member Dr Ben Evans, a Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University’s College of Engineering. The Mach 1.4 Bloodhound SSC project is the latest in a long line of land speed record cars now being run through more than 3600 schools in the UK in a bid to show youngsters how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects) can lead to exciting and rewarding careers.

Paul Mason, the Interim Director of Emerging and Enabling Technologies at Innovate UK, will speak about tackling the technology barriers that Welsh businesses currently face. Innovate UK is a programme that seeks to identify, and invest in, technologies and capabilities that will lead to the products, processes and services of tomorrow that have the potential to create billion-pound industries

With a major focus on funding, the event will also host three expert panels consisting of people and organisations who are actually funding business growth at the various stages of Seed Investment; Second Stage Growth and Series A. There will also be a funding forum where a business and its investor will tell their funding story and give pointers to those in a similar situation.

Visitors will also get the chance to view and test the products and services at the cutting-edge of Wales’ business scene, discovering some of the best people and investment opportunities the region has to offer.

So, what are you waiting for? Register now