Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Leeds makes £600,000 available for ‘bold business thinkers’

Leeds City Council’s Innovation@Leeds programme is making vital funding support available to help unleash the talents of a new generation of entrepreneurs and bold business thinkers.

A total of around £600,000 will be distributed to successful bidders through two different Innovation@Leeds grant schemes – capital and revenue.

The capital grants – provisionally ranging in size from £50,000 up to £150,000 – will support the creation of high-quality in-person workspaces tailored to suit the needs of innovators, entrepreneurs and those running early-stage or small businesses.

These collaboration-friendly facilities will be in locations outside the city centre, bolstering the council’s inclusive growth ambitions and helping to ensure that local neighbourhoods are places of vibrant economic activity with opportunities for all.

Organisations bidding for the capital grants must be able to show a willingness and an ability to work with the kind of innovative businesses and diverse founders that will be using the facilities.

The revenue grants, meanwhile, will support the delivery of events, mentoring activity and partnership projects that will strengthen Leeds’s innovation ecosystem and raise its local and international profile.

Whereas the capital grants are focused on creating physical facilities and resources, this scheme will concentrate on giving aspiring innovators – drawn from a diverse range of communities – access to assistance that will improve their investability and help them realise the full potential of their business ideas.

The revenue grants – from £5,000 to £25,000 – will build on the success of a pilot scheme that funded a number of conferences and knowledge-sharing events earlier this year.

Bidders should be able to demonstrate a proven track record in providing development support for innovation-led businesses and finding new ways to engage with diverse audiences.

Innovation@Leeds was launched last year to help ensure that people from different backgrounds have the means to make the most of their talents in fields such as digital and other emerging technologies.

The new grants also reflect the council’s vision for encouraging and driving innovation in a way that will bring about a healthier, greener and more inclusive future for Leeds and the wider world – see here for further details.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “The Innovation@Leeds programme is a great example of how the council can stimulate innovation and support entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses in Leeds.

“Working with partners across the city, we want to deliver inclusive growth in town and other local centres, making them better placed to serve the changing employment and social needs of all the people who live there.

“These two grant funding streams will help us achieve those aims by encouraging start-ups, scale-ups and inward investment, which in turn will create new jobs and build economic resilience.

“We look forward to seeing what I’m sure will be an impressive array of ideas and proposals from applicants to the schemes.”

Both of the grant schemes are open now, with bids welcomed from a wide range of organisations, including those in the private and third sectors. Bidders for capital funding will be asked to complete an expression of interest by early November, with more detailed applications being invited by December. The revenue grants are designed to support activity that can be delivered over the course of around six months, with successful applicants due to be announced in November.

Further information on the application process can be found here.

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