A SHOWCASE for innovation and hi-tech entrepreneurs will today stage its biggest event yet as it turns 18.

This year's Venturefest Oxford will see 13 businesses, including electric motorcycle developer Meteor Power, compete for the attention of potential investors.

The firms will be on show at the King's Centre in Osney Mead, West Oxford.

More than 800 delegates attended Venturefest Oxford last year, with millions of pounds of potential business generated from the event.

Companies taking part also include start-ups which previously took part in Pitchfest – Venturefest Oxford’s twice yearly Dragons' Den-style event at which entrepreneurs pitch for funding from local investors.

Executive chairwoman at Venturefest Oxford Lynn Shepherd said: "We are hoping for a record turnout this year - it would be terrific if 1,000 people came along.

"We were at the Said Business School for several years but switching to this larger venue means there will be more networking areas and the exhibition and innovation showcase will double in size.

"Over two dozen workshops will offer visitors valuable advice.

"The Kings Centre is a hidden gem - it's Oxford's largest conference space and as a former home of Oxford Instruments it's a fitting venue to celebrate the county's spirit of innovation.

"This year’s programme is set to be the best ever, with a great line-up of dynamic speakers and a range of sessions designed to stimulate innovation, support entrepreneurship, and broker investment."

Mrs Shepherd said the closing session would debate what happens now to business, innovation and research following the country's decision to leave the EU.

Lord Willetts, former minister for universities and science, will head a panel discussing the implication of Brexit.

TechTonic, a new network will also be launched for entrepreneurial and aspirational women in the technology sector in Oxfordshire.

The network was the idea brainchild of Nicola McConville, a corporate lawyer specialising in the technology sector and a Partner at Penningtons Manches in the Thames Valley.

She said: "The idea was prompted by a Woman’s Hour programme on Radio 4 that I heard about a ‘women in tech’ network in Cambridge and it begged the question as to why nothing similar exists in Oxfordshire?

"Furthermore, fewer than five per cent of my portfolio of technology clients are female, so it set me thinking about how we could help existing or would-be women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential."

Other guest speakers at Venturefest will include Lisa Thomas, global head of brand and managing director at Virgin Enterprises; Bianca Miller, runner-up of The Apprentice 2014; Mark Stevenson, entrepreneur, broadcaster, expert on global trends and innovation, and Will Kintish, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Networkers.

A representative from Brussels is also expected to attend to participate in the debate.

For full details of the Venturefest Oxford 2016 programme or to book tickets visit venturefestoxford.com.