The National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) will provide the keynote at the launch of Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2024.
Martin McTague OBE will address guests during the event at Space Park Leicester on Monday 5 February.
It comes after FSB published a report in August which called on the Government to kickstart economic growth by investing more in small firms.
The Tech Tonic report looks at opportunities and challenges facing businesses looking to drive productivity against the backdrop of continued economic challenges and scaled-down small business R&D tax relief schemes.
The theme of the 2024 Leicestershire Innovation Festival is ‘Small Change, Big Impact’ and, like the FSB report, it will consider development and use of new ideas and technologies to address productivity challenges.
The 2024 festival is led by the LLEP Business Gateway Growth Hub.
Mr McTague became FSB National Chair in March 2022. It came after several years chairing FSB policy and advocacy functions, and more than 20 years as an FSB volunteer.
He started his own business 35 years ago and currently owns and manages three businesses. As National Chair, Mr McTague works closely with Government and Opposition leaders, attending ministerial meetings and representing FSB members at the most senior levels – including with the Prime Minister. He said:
Innovation is not confined to big businesses and the tech industry, there are millions of small firms coming up with new ideas and installing changes within their business.
Allowing them the freedom to experiment and try new ways of working is key to growth – yet barriers remain for small firms aspiring to go further with their tech investments and innovation.
Leicestershire Innovation Festival will be a great opportunity to discuss how innovation and the use of technology can spur economic growth and explore what can be done to ensure small businesses are incentivised to take risks and develop new solutions from the bottom up.”
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Chair of the LLEP Innovation Board, said:
I’m delighted that Martin will open the event with what I know will be a powerful and insightful keynote speech.
It will set the perfect tempo for a hugely engaging and enjoyable festival to come.
Mr McTague will be joined at next week’s launch event by Chris Russell, FSB senior policy manager who will present the Tech Tonic report’s key findings on how the UK’s SMEs can best be supported through adoption of technology and digital tools.
The National Chair will also host a panel discussion with local small businesses who are succeeding through adopting constant change and improvement, and who will share their thoughts on key opportunities.
Local FSB area manager Jennifer Thomas, who has been involved with the innovation festival for five years, said:
We see the festival as an opportunity for small businesses to understand the opportunities and support that’s available to them, but also for Government and innovation decision makers to understand SME priorities.
Leicestershire Innovation Festival is sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, Cross Productions, De Montfort University, Exemplas, Freeths, ITS, Loughborough University, MIRA Technology Park, Novartis, and University of Leicester.
Helen Donnellan, director of Research Business and Innovation at festival partner De Montfort University, said:
The festival theme of Small Change, Big Impact, is something that resonates strongly with us as a university which works closely with the business community.
Research shows that small, incremental changes done consistently can have a profound effect on productivity and therefore economic development.
You can register now to attend festival events.