Grants scheme aims to put innovators on path to a bright business future
Leeds City Council has confirmed new funding for initiatives designed to help aspiring business innovators make their mark on the world.
The council’s Innovation@Leeds programme recently launched a scheme offering grants to organisations that are ready to provide expert support to grassroots entrepreneurs looking to develop their own trailblazing businesses.
Applications were opened in the autumn as part of Innovation@Leeds’s mission to ensure people from diverse backgrounds in Leeds have the means and motivation to follow their dreams in fields such as digital and other emerging technologies.
Now a dozen successful bids have been announced, with grants ranging from £5,000 to £25,000.
These are being used to fund initiatives called No Code Lab, Launchpad Music Innovators, OneTech Leeds, Super Squad, Digital Sport North, LegalTech In Leeds, D-List, VMC2023, Sustainable Leeds, FinTech North: Challenge Leeds, AI Accelerator Leeds and Fund Her Leeds.
Running over the next few months, these events and programmes will give people access to training and networking opportunities.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Leeds is a city bursting with ideas and talent, and the council is determined to do everything it can to harness that energy in a way that benefits us all.
“We therefore want to encourage innovative business activity which makes a real difference to people’s lives by driving inclusive growth, promoting collaboration and tackling inequalities.”
Among the projects being supported by the Innovation@Leeds grants are:
- No Code Lab’s Super Hack 2023, an event that will see teams of self-confessed ‘non-techies’ from local businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations working against the clock – and competing with each other – as they tackle a technology challenge. The day’s proceedings will then end with a final contest between the two top teams in front of a live audience. No Code Lab is a partnership between Panintelligence and Halston Group.
- Sustainable Leeds, an initiative that will provide business and commercialisation support to between 10 and 15 locally-based climate tech organisations. The scheme will also build on its engagement with the organisations to identify ways to strengthen the climate tech sector in both Leeds and the wider region. Sustainable Leeds is a partnership between Sustainable Ventures, Europe’s largest climate tech ecosystem, and Nexus, the University of Leeds’s innovation community.
- Fund Her Leeds, which aims to give female business founders – particularly those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities – support that will help them locate and attract investment capital. The programme, which is a partnership between Fund Her North and the Yorkshire Asian Business Community Association, will include elements such as ‘validating your business model’, ‘preparing your business for growth, commercialisation and internationalisation’ and ‘how to get pitch ready’.
The grants aim to build on the success of an Innovation@Leeds pilot scheme, which funded a number of conferences and other knowledge-sharing events last year.
The new Innovation@Leeds grants are funded by the Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, co-ordinated by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and led by Leeds City Council.