[14 June 2024]

Humber Business Week 2024

Humber Business Week 2024 was a fantastic opportunity for businesses around the region to get connected and be inspired.

The Aura Innovation Centre (AIC) was a key part of the week, utilising our agile and adaptable facilities to host a number of events from panel discussions, keynote speakers and breakout sessions. The AIC events attracted over 250 delegates throughout the week. The AIC was also involved in other Business Week events around the region, spreading the net zero message to business leaders across the Humber.

The week kicked off with Monday’s Business Week launch at MKM Stadium with a number of AIC representatives attending the Bondholder’s Breakfast, where we joined a sell-out audience to watch the unveiling of the new Humber Placebrand. The Humber Placebrand led by Future Humber has been co curated by the businesses and institutions of the region and designed to define how the world sees the Humber region. The new narrative aims to show the world how revolutionary, resourceful, real and remarkable our region is.

Find out more about the Placebrand

On Tuesday Aura hosted an event in partnership with the British Business Bank – ‘Show us the money! Exploring finance opportunities for growing the Humber’s SMEs.’ The panel, made up of experts, founders and investors including Aura’s own Sarah Clark, explored topics such as attitudes to funding, the challenges that businesses face and how finance can be made more accessible. Sophie Dale-Black, British Business Bank Director for the Midlands and North of England who chaired the panel opened the event with an overview of some of the finance options available from the bank including equity and debt finance.

Martin Lauer, founder and CEO of The One Point, and Daniel Haley, founder of GW Power-Safe have both been beneficiaries of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and both agreed that having that early investment and cash flow provided stability and confidence to operate.

After the panel discussion attendees had the opportunity to network and engage in 1:1 interaction with the investors and business advisors from Hull City Council and East Riding Council.

Find out more about the innovation funding available from Aura

On Wednesday morning Aura hosted the Humber Freeport Innovation Group’s business engagement event. The role of the Innovation Liaison Group is to work with businesses to support them on areas ranging from R&D and technology advice to knowledge transfer and access to finance.


Humber Freeport Chair Simon Bird opened the event, before joining a line-up of speakers representing Siemens Energy, University of Lincoln and the HEY Business Growth and Skills Hub. The panel was expertly chaired by Aura’s Research and Development Lead, Professor James Gilbert and was joined by Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Professor Kevin Kerrigan contributing to the panel.

Professor Kerrigan said “Innovation is core to what the University does and we must focus our research on helping the regions problems – which at the moment is decarbonisation, our biggest challenge but also our biggest opportunity.”

“We have a real asset in the region here at the Aura Innovation Centre, a trailblazer in providing innovative solutions through it’s InventX facility, providing access to affordable technicians and facilities to help innovate their next product or services.”

Breakout sessions followed the panel to give delegates the chance to discuss what matters most to them when it comes to innovation, and what support they need to unlock exciting growth opportunities and new technologies.

On Wednesday afternoon Aura hosted the Research and Innovation team from the University of Hull for a panel discussion and breakout session. The event was also held in conjunction with the University’s Research Culture Week 24.

The panel included Sarah Clark, Acting Director of Aura and was chaired by DVC, Professor Kevin Kerrigan. The panel covered discussions around the opportunities of devolution including what it could mean for economic growth in the region, how it will boost growth in the knowledge economy and what role universities should play in the process. Sarah and Professor Kerrigan where joined by Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities and Professor Andy Jonas, Professor of Human. Geography, University of Hull.

After the panel discussion delegates were split into breakout groups to further discuss the key challenges and opportunities of devolution – how will it build innovation in the region, how will it attract inward investment and what does a socially just model look like in our region.

The main takeaway of the discussions was that collaboration amongst the University, business community, industry and Local Authorities will be key to drawing down regional investment and leverage resources.

Also on Wednesday our employer engagement team were over at the University of Hull Business School showcasing our innovative facilities and internship opportunities at ‘The Future of Manufacturing’ presented by Hull City Council – Invest Hull.

On Thursday the AIC hosted Humber HR People’s Business Breakfast. In this Business Week special the team focused on aligning mission and values with strategic business planning.

Meanwhile the business development team represented Aura at the Hull City Council Business Breakfast, taking part in a marketplace for business.

After a busy few days, we ended the week at the Business Day at Bridlington Spa, where the University of Hull’s ‘Powerful Partnerships’ stand invited visitors to play the ‘Perfect Partnerships’ pairs games and enjoy some business Pick n Mix sweets to get people thinking about our business support offers. The stand featured a number of key partnerships including our work with Smith and Nephew, Wren Kitchens and Floreon. way to get our low-carbon message through to the region’s business leaders.

The University breakout session continued the theme of ‘Creating Powerful Partnerships’ exploring partnerships between the University and local businesses. The panel included business partners from Wren Kitchens, Connexin and Naimuri all of whom have collaborated with the University.

Find out more about partnering with the University of Hull.

Want to work with us to bring your green idea to life? You don’t have to wait until next year’s Business Week, get in touch now, we’ll look forward to hearing from you. See some examples of ways we’ve helped other businesses on our Case Studies page.