Bright ideas are top of the agenda at council-backed innovation events
A Leeds City Council funding scheme is set to shape the post-pandemic digital and tech landscape by helping unleash the talents of a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurial thinkers.
A string of conferences and other knowledge-sharing events will be taking place in the coming weeks and months with support from the Innovation@Leeds scheme.
Innovation@Leeds was launched last year with the aim of giving aspiring innovators the tools they need to make bright ideas become a commercial reality in fields such as digital and other emerging technologies.
The organisers of the forthcoming events – which will reflect Leeds’s can do spirit through a focus on both research excellence and its practical applications – have all received funding from the scheme.
The Innovation@Leeds LIVE programme will give the entrepreneurs of the future invaluable opportunities for learning and networking as the city centre’s co-working and event spaces continue their recovery from the effects of the country’s COVID-19 lockdowns.
They will also underline the importance of collaboration – within Leeds and across the wider region – as new forms of tech evolve and offer fresh solutions to local challenges as well as global issues such as climate change and poverty.
And they will shine a light on the many ways in which tech businesses in Leeds – already home to the fastest-growing digital economy in the UK – have adapted to the unprecedented difficulties and changing behaviours of the last two years.
The Innovation@Leeds LIVE programme includes:
- A launch event for the Green Finance Innovation Network, which is being established to connect the next generation of financial services professionals with experts on climate and environmental risks (February 28, Nexus – University of Leeds);
- The Innovate Space Festival, organised by Space Hub Yorkshire and the University of Leeds Business School to encourage early-stage innovation in the space technology sector (March 15 and 16, Nexus – University of Leeds);
- The FinTech North Leeds Conference 2022, where themes will include sustainability, diversity and inclusion in the world of financial technology (March 17, Salem Chapel);
- AI Tech North’s Great Northern AI Summit 2022, where the agenda items will include creating new opportunities for businesses, start-ups and women in tech (March 17 and 18, Leeds City Museum).
- Whitecap Consulting’s LegalTech in Leeds conference, which will bring legal and tech firms together with digital experts and a range of stakeholders (March 24, hosted by Bruntwood in central Leeds);
- No Code Hack 2022, an event run by No Code Lab that will see multiple teams of self-confessed ‘non-techies’ working against the clock to tackle a technology challenge (March 31, Avenue HQ);
- Northernlands, a conference organised by Open Innovations – in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands – where key topics will include innovation, data, sustainability and trade relations (April 26, online).
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said:
“We launched Innovation@Leeds with the intention of providing a launchpad for the kind of game-changing ideas that will strengthen Leeds’s reputation as a home of trailblazing business thinking.
“It’s really pleasing, therefore, to see how quickly the scheme has begun to achieve results, with these events set to help people come together, share knowledge and connect in ways that have not always been possible since the start of the pandemic.
“They are also a great example of the council’s commitment to delivering inclusive growth and our determination to make opportunities in areas such as digital and tech available to everyone.”
Funding was allocated to Innovation@Leeds from the council’s Additional Restrictions Grant budget with a view to helping drive the city’s recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19.
Grants ranging from £5,000 to £25,000 were then announced in October after the council invited applications from organisations that provide training, mentoring and support for innovation-led businesses.