Discover what’s on at West Yorkshire Innovation Festival, 15-19 March

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL

As businesses continue to adapt through the pandemic and plan for the recovery, the West Yorkshire Innovation Festival will be an opportunity for companies across the region to find out how embracing innovation can help them become more productive, efficient and resilient.

Created by the West Yorkshire Innovation Network and coordinated by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the festival runs from 15 to 19 March and will showcase the role of innovation in our region by bringing together businesses, expertise, resources and support programmes.

The ambition is to help SMEs, entrepreneurs, and start-up businesses in our region better understand the benefits of innovation, how they can innovate, to discover the support available and to build connections, so they can build more efficient, productive and resilient businesses.

Experience from previous recessions shows that innovation is critical to growth and future resilience, and yet during these challenging times, it’s particularly hard for smaller businesses to do.

Roger Marsh, chairman of the LEP and the NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, said: “This festival is the first of its kind and it is the perfect time to be promoting the support available to help businesses recover from the last 12 months.

“Our partners are coming together to make business support more accessible, whilst showcasing some of the very best in innovation.

“Together we want to encourage our SMEs to go beyond their current thinking, to see the possibility and build on their existing potential to develop sustainable businesses for the future.”

To demonstrate the importance of key innovation to the region’s economic recovery and long-term future, the LEP has recently launched its Innovation Framework to guide future activity, investment and support for innovation in Leeds City Region.

It sets out the ambitious goal of building an inclusive, thriving innovation ecosystem where SMEs, entrepreneurs and individuals are inspired to innovate.

A wide range of support is available to help businesses become more innovative, whether through collaborative projects, the generation of new ideas, gaining new skills, accessing research, knowledge and expertise, or financial funding.

The collaboration between members of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network brings this activity together and simplifies how businesses can make the most of the support available to make it more accessible.

The Festival will feature 40 virtual events from workshops, talks and success stories. Topics include innovation culture, embedding change and the future of innovation for the region, to practical insight on learnings from Covid-19, how businesses can work with universities and understanding how to take an idea to prototype.

The Business Support Service available from the LEP provides several programmes to support businesses looking to innovate, including inward investment opportunities, greener economy, and dedicated innovation support through its Connecting Innovation programme – part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The team of Innovation Growth Managers work with businesses to understand their needs, identify opportunities, and find tailored solutions to make the relevant support more accessible. Join the Business Support Digest event on Wednesday 17 March at 10am for an overview of support available.

To see the full events schedule and register, visit:

Connecting Innovation is delivered by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.