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Innovation sensation returns to Malvern

This year will see entrepreneurs and inventors pitching their products and services to camera in the world’s smallest theatre, the Theatre of Small Convenience. With the seating capacity for the audience being limited to 10, you’ll be able to watch the presentations later on the festival’s YouTube channel. The festival will also be using another new venue this year, as it continues to grow its footprint across the town.

Malvern Radio, which is freshly refurbished at the location where the Recon club used to be (at the top of Church Street), will play host to the Science Comedy Night.

This experiment sets out to prove that science comedy is not an oxymoron and, moreover, to provide some high-brow intellectual entertainment.

Engaging students remains a key feature of the festival and, once again, the Next Generation Innovators day will enthuse senior school students in years seven, eight and nine from across the region with hands-on science and technology activities, lectures and workshops.

This year is the centenary of the Women’s Engineering Society and one of the festival’s keynote speakers will be Yasmin Ali, who was the Women’s Engineering Society Young Woman Engineer 2013, who now works on energy innovation for the UK Government.

Dr Bal Choda, a STEM Ambassador from Aston Martin, will also return to Malvern this year in ‘his’ Aston Martin sports car to give his enthralling audio–visual presentation about what it is like to work at the cutting edge of the automotive industry. Held at Malvern College, this free Creative Careers afternoon is aimed at school students studying in years 10–13, and is open to schools across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Business and entrepreneurship remain a key aspect of the festival, and themed symposia aim to tackle important topics that are relevant to the economy of our region. The popular Cybersecurity day returns to the Malvern Theatres with the theme of Securing SMEs (small medium enterprises). The Malvern area has one of the UK’s leading cybersecurity clusters of businesses but, more importantly, organisations in general need to guard against IT breaches, malware, fraud and data privacy breaches.

This session will highlight the latest thinking in cybersecurity and showcase some of the latest products and services to tackle the problem.

Whether you are a small charity, a sole trader, a high street shop or a consultant, you need to stay secure and so attending this free event could help you understand the risks and how to address them.

Another topical symposium is the Environment & Sustainability day which, this year, will look at the circular economy; how technology and good practice can be introduced to communities in Africa and how your own business can make small simple steps to make a difference.

Key speakers will include the former Labour MP Tom Levitt, who is author of The Company Citizen: Good for Business, Planet, Nation and Community, and Philip Mossop, the founding CEO of the nationwide WasteCollection.com, an online waste management service.

Other speakers during the week will include Hilarie Owen, author of nine leadership books, including the recent book We Lead, and Paul Ashcroft and Garrick Jones who have recently written Alive about digitisation of our world and how people and organisations are having to adapt to survive and prosper.

The week will round off with the Family Day in the foyers of the Malvern Theatres, once again giving children the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a fun and engaging way. Marty Jopson, BBC The One Show’s resident scientist, will demonstrate the fascinating world of the microscopic at the ticketed Family Show. This double bill will also feature awardwinning physicist Scary Boots, who will demonstrate the 3D printing of jelly and explain why being able to do this with soft materials will be really beneficial in the future.