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Homepage / VentureDay: Innovate to Elevate

VentureDay: Innovate to Elevate


Sara Gavin, Marketing Manager at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship, Cranfield School of Management, reflects on last week’s entrepreneurship conference, VentureDay.

Having recently joined Cranfield University, this was my first VentureDay event. Colleagues had told me what a great event VentureDay usually is, and I was excited to experience the day for myself.

I had helped to create some of the content for the website and our social channels, so had seen the wide range of speakers and academics involved in the event but it was fantastic to see some of the panels in action. Over the course of the day, various topics were discussed and debated including AI and automation, and the internet of green things.

Our keynote speakers

Margaret Manning, Chief Operating Officer at Senseful AI session.

One of my favourite parts of the day was listening to the keynote address from Margaret Manning, Chief Operating Officer at Senseful AI. Margaret shared her career journey with us, including how she started a digital consultancy business in 1996 – a time when many people were predicting the internet to die a death!
I think it’s safe to say who got the last laugh there…

Margaret also spoke about some of the challenges she had met as a woman in business, something that I’m sure resonated with many of our female attendees. But the thing that really stood out for me, was Margaret’s humour. Her presentation was extremely personable, and her meme collection could not be faulted.

The second of our keynote speakers was Adam Nemenyi, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer at Sentry Aerospares. Adam has close links to Cranfield University, having undertaken the Business Growth Programme in 2018, and being awarded the Cranfield Entrepreneur Alumni Award in 2024. 

Like Margaret, Adam shared his career journey with us, including how he sold his business selling aircraft parts just before COVID hit (…maybe I should ask Adam to pick my lottery numbers next time I meet him!)


VentureDay attendees discussing the ideas on the discussion board.

Another stand out moment for VentureDay 2024 was the Unconference. I hadn’t heard of an Unconference before I joined Cranfield University so was intrigued to see how this would work.

The buzz around the Unconference was undeniable. The suggestion boards were full of great ideas for sessions, but delegates whittled these down to their top five and split out into separate rooms to discuss and debate their chosen topics. It was incredible (and at the risk of sounding cheesy, a real honour) to see delegates share their personal experiences and talk so openly about topics such as workplace burnout, building a team with shared values, and what the future really holds for AI.

Ending the day on a high!

Professor Stephanie Hussels, Director of the Business Growth Programme with the Small Business Charter Award

The day was rounded off brilliantly when my team at the Bettany Centre found out the School of Management had won an award for ‘Outstanding Support for Small Business’ at the Small Business Charter Awards!

All in all, a great day and I cannot wait to be part of VentureDay 2025! Make sure you keep Thursday 12 June 2025 free!

Cranfield University

Written By: Sara Gavin

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