An American venture capitalist has been announced as keynote speaker as Venturefest returns to Manchester for its sixth year.

Nitin Rai MD of Portland-based Elevate Capital hails ‘the incredible opportunities offered by the North West’s richly diverse, multi-cultural society’.

Elevate prides itself on its inclusivity, investing more than $6m in 25 start-ups founded or led by diverse and underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest of the United States since 2016. Nearly 60 per cent of Elevate’s investments are in female-led companies, and 40 per cent in start-ups founded or led by entrepreneurs from African and Latin-American backgrounds.

Nitin also serves as the chair of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) Global Board of Trustees, leading the mission to help its 60 plus global chapters ensure entrepreneurs become successful.

Additionally, under his leadership, TiE Oregon Angels has invested $15m in 50 seed stage start-ups with 10 liquidity events. He also chairs the TiE Global Angel network, which consists of over 200 TiE Angels globally.

“Manchester and the North West has an incredible global reputation for fighting for equality, promoting tolerance and supporting minorities, which is why I’m thrilled to be taking part in Venturefest,” said Rai.

“The region is also already buzzing with entrepreneurs from all kinds of social backgrounds.”

Hosting the event for second time will be business commentator and successful entrepreneur Professor Vikas Shah MBE.

Having started a web design business while at Stockport Grammar School aged 14, Professor Shah is now CEO of Swiscot Group, a diversified international trading business. He is also co-founder of feature film studio 53 Degrees North and a venture investor in a number of businesses.

An honorary professor at University of Manchester, he was awarded an MBE for Services to Business and the Economy in the 2018 New Year's Honours List.

“Venturefest celebrates building business and, whether you’re starting out, scaling or a well-established business, this is an event where you will find a mix of the practical, inspirational and useful - from great speakers, to service providers, products and the people you need to grow.

“This event also showcases the very best of business in the North West and, importantly, brings together many of the region’s most successful entrepreneurs to connect with each other.”