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Manufacturing Futures 2024 kicks off with Critical Friends Day at Plexal

Last week, we gathered our 10 shortlisted businesses at Plexal’s Innovation Centre for Critical Friends Day, officially launching our 2024 programme.

Taking over the spacious venue, the day was meticulously organised for our 10 shortlisted businesses – Arda Materials, Fibe, Fab Materials, Oxford Biopigments, TRUSS, Sequinova, Zori Tex, Fiiba, PACT, and The Seam – to present their businesses to industry experts and receive valuable feedback ahead of their final presentation to the judges.

Our Expert Lineup:

Manufacturing Innovation and Sustainability

  • Moin Roberts-Islam | Technology Development Manager, Fashion Innovation Agency, LCF, UAL
  • Rory Hugill | Senior Innovation Portfolio Manager, PANGAIA
  • Daniel Whitley | Strategic Design Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Katarina Rimarcikova | Founder, Fashion Industry Consultant and Senior Lecturer, ALIGN Studio

Manufacturing Production

  • Anna Ellis |  Head of Business Development, Making For Change, LCF
  • Nicola Eibich | Circular Fashion Consultant, M-EASURE
  • Gabrielle Shiner-Hill | Co-Founder, Bureau 555

Investment Insights

  • Carol Hilsum | Co-Founder of StudioThree, Investment Advisor at TLF Ventures & Imaginary Ventures
  • Aarthi Thangavel | Associate – Innovation, TRUE
  • Thushara Sabreen | Innovation Strategist, UKRI

Marketing Insights

  • Danielle LeToullec | Head of Marketing, True Global
  • Elisah van Allen | Head of Social, 33Seconds

Business Growth and IP

  • Jo Gregory (Partner) and Sheldon Cordell (Chairman) | Joelson Law
  • Stuart Balmer | Fashion and Creative Business Consultant, Stuart Balmer Associates
  • Holly Smith | Innovation Lead, Plexal  

Empowered by real-time feedback on their businesses, many of the startups left with actionable steps outlined by the critical friends to help elevate their growth. Throughout the day, breaks in the timetable provided ample opportunities for the businesses to get to know each other, fostering the exchange of ideas, opportunities, and mutual support.

Fuelled by the high energy in the room, the day proved to be a resounding success, leaving our shortlisted businesses eagerly anticipating our upcoming event, the Development Day on 30th May. Closing the event, the startups were given the opportunity to offer feedback about their experience. Woody Lello, CEO of TRUSS, spoke on behalf of them all, saying, ‘It was a really fun day!’ 

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