Pioneering American venture capitalist Nitin Rai has been announced as keynote speaker as Venturefest returns for its sixth year.

The region’s biggest annual innovation expo and conference, Venturefest North West takes place at Manchester Central on Wednesday 20 November, with registrations now open at Organisers GC Business Growth Hub, along with partners {your Growth Hub name}, are promising an exceptional mix of inspirational speakers, interactive workshops and networking opportunities.

Nitin Rai is the founder and managing director of Elevate Capital, based in Portland, Oregon. Elevate prides itself on its inclusivity, investing more than $6m in 25 start-ups founded or led by diverse and underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest of the United States since 2016. Nearly 60% of Elevate’s investments are in female-led companies, and 40% in start-ups founded or led by entrepreneurs from African and Latin-American backgrounds.

Nitin also serves as the chair of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) Global Board of Trustees, leading the mission to help its 60 plus global chapters ensure entrepreneurs become successful. Additionally, under his leadership, TiE Oregon Angels has invested $15m in 50 seed stage start-ups with 10 liquidity events. He also chairs the TiE Global Angel network, which consists of over 200 TiE Angels globally.

Nitin said: “Manchester and the North West has an incredible global reputation for fighting for equality, promoting tolerance and supporting minorities, which is why I’m thrilled to be taking part in Venturefest. The region is also already buzzing with entrepreneurs from all kinds of social backgrounds.

“As we have found through our work in the USA, having such a richly diverse, multi-cultural and inclusive pool of people to draw upon leads to a dynamic, innovative and disruptive start-up scene, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the North West has to offer at the event in November.”

Vikas Shah at Venturefest

Hosting the event for second time will be business commentator and successful entrepreneur Professor Vikas Shah MBE. Having started a web design business while at Stockport Grammar School aged 14, Professor Shah is now CEO of Swiscot Group, a diversified international trading business. He is also co-founder of feature film studio 53 Degrees North and a venture investor in a number of businesses. An honorary professor at University of Manchester, he was awarded an MBE for Services to Business and the Economy in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

Professor Shah said: “Venturefest celebrates building business and, whether you’re starting out, scaling or a well-established business, this is an event where you will find a mix of the practical, inspirational and useful – from great speakers, to service providers, products and the people you need to grow.

“This event also showcases the very best of business in the North West and, importantly, brings together many of the region’s most successful entrepreneurs to connect with each other.”

More than 1,100 delegates attended last year’s Venturefest North West, as GC Business Growth Hub joined forces with regional partners Cheshire & Warrington Growth Hub, Cumbria Growth Hub, Liverpool City Region’s Local Growth Hub, and Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

To register your free place at Venturefest North West 2019 go to This event is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project, designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester.

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