Venturefest 2016

The places you can get to when you ride a local towpath…
Farmer Johns 2016

You don’t often catch me in a shirt and tie, I’m normally dressed in relaxed mountain bike gear, but for Venturefest 2016, the shiny shoes came out. In retrospect, I was pleased to be in my best attire to cheer on Swifty Scooters and congratulate them on their success at this year’s event.

8:00am Familiar faces, new business ideas and many people to meet.

My day started off with a presentation about partnering with Universities.  As some of you may or may not know, last year we partnered with Salford University to create a 3D visualisation model of Dirt Factory.  Showing off the many indoor bike parks that exist overseas was not enough, we were challenged with visually demonstrating our innovative business plan.  The visuals then formed part of our crowd fund campaign where we went on to raise £430k.


9:30am Networking on wheels. 
A lot of people asking ‘when are you open?’ and ‘where will you be based?’ – Questions that all our supporters and wider cycling community have been asking.  I always appreciate people coming over digging for more, and it was great for me to answer questions about our business incubator space, opportunities to co-locate inside Dirt Factory, explain education services, bike coaching and our construction processes.  Business cards came in very handy!

10:30am Pitch your idea.

I was so happy to see Jason and Camilla from Swifty exhibiting their range of scooters and nail their pitch.  Jason was slick just like their branding.  All the businesses were fantastic and different, and I know the feeling of pitching on that stage because I did it in 2014.

12:30pm The winner of VenturefestMCR
This went to tech company Nothing But Epic, a big hats off to the guys and team. But massive congratulations to Swifty Scooters who came runners up, and in their words it feels just as good as winning.  Their company and brand got all the attention it deserves.  I can’t wait to see the new Swifty Air released – which we are keen to see at Dirt Factory. Check the latest video Swifty rides Mount Snowdon.


Takeaway’s from today:
The Universities want you! If you have a business idea and need support, contact the uni, find their front door. There are many ways to partner with skillful academics – it’s a win win.

Meeting and talking with people about their business and attending network events will always open doors, you just have to be persistent.

So that wraps up this year’s Venturefest.  Sharing my knowledge, challenges and experiences with an audience of entrepreneurs and innovators hopefully gave a useful insight and encourages people to think about working together and cohesively.

What’s next for Dirt Factory?  All Dirt Factory requires is a roof over its head, we can then unleash the power of our partnerships, team and love for bikes.

Thanks for reading

Dan Makin