City Region secures place on MIT scheme for entrepreneurs

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Lisa Roberts

Leeds City Region has secured a place on a prestigious leadership programme run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world’s top universities.

The two-year Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme provides expert evidence-based guidance for teams to bring about significant economic and social change in their region.

MIT selects up to nine regional teams each year from around the world, involving leaders from government, business and industry, academia, finance and representatives from the entrepreneurial community.

Since the programme’s launch in 2012, nations and cities that have been helped by the programme to shape their economic and societal fortunes include Beijing, Scotland, London, Tokyo and Qatar.

The Leeds City team includes leaders from the University of Leeds, Nexus, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council, KPMG, Arup, Leeds Academic Health Partnership, and entrepreneurs Adam Beaumont and Ben Ziff.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds led the Leeds bid and is the team “champion” for the programme. She said:“This is a significant opportunity for us to come together as a collective force to further develop our ambitious innovation and growth plans. MIT has clearly identified the region as having key strengths to support the UK economy, in particular the Government’s plans for boosting growth and productivity.

“We have clear challenges that need to be addressed if we are to help drive economic growth. This includes supporting existing transformational projects, like the University’s new innovation centre, Nexus, which could act as a catalyst for developing the Innovation District in Leeds, as well as supporting skills, increasing connectivity, growing business spend on research and development, and boosting productivity and exports.

“Above all, this is also about driving positive social change for the region, and ensuring that innovation and enterprise initiatives support all residents and that everyone benefits and shares in the city’s economic success.”

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: “I am proud that Leeds City Region is the first area outside of London to be selected for the prestigious Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Leeds is following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most iconic cities including Beijing, London and Tokyo who have all participated in this esteemed leadership programme. As a hub for cutting-edge digital technology and financial services, Leeds is set to become a ‘Canary North’ of the Northern Powerhouse, driving forward innovation and supercharging growth within the region.”