Newly formed partnership aims to drive business innovation across Leeds City Region

01 June 2017

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency, have signed an agreement to help drive innovation and development across the City Region.

Leeds City Region currently attracts 57% of the UK average investment per employee from Innovate UK. The new partnership will tackle this deficit by helping the region’s SMEs compete more effectively for this national funding.

The LEP and Innovate UK will work together to provide an easier way for businesses across the Leeds City Region to get help with innovation with a joined-up, accessible programme of support.

In addition, the partnership will also make it simpler for businesses to access funding from the LEP and Innovate UK, and take a more targeted approach to identifying and supporting SMEs to innovate.

In a recent survey of innovation across the Leeds City Region, 47% of businesses reported they had introduced new or significantly improved processes over the past 12 months, while 39% had also introducing new or improved products.

In addition, the region has one of the largest concentrations of universities in Europe and research and development within Higher Education that is already outperforming the rest of the UK.

Cllr Tim Swift, deputy chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Calderdale Council leader, put pen to paper on the agreement alongside Andrew Wright, chair of the LEP Business, Innovation and Growth (BIG) Panel and Kevin Baughan, deputy chief executive of Innovate UK.

The partnership was signed on Wednesday (June 28th) in front of local business leaders at Borg Warner, in Roydsdale Way, Bradford

Cllr Tim Swift said: “We’re delighted to be signing today’s official partnership agreement with Innovate UK. The Leeds City region has a strong and proud history of innovation that extends into the present day, particularly in key digital and medical technology sectors.

“We hope that by working even more closely with Innovate UK and helping even more businesses access the support and funding on offer, we can ensure we remain at the forefront of ground-breaking advancement and development for years to come.”

Kevin Baughan added: “In today’s world we are competing within a global innovation economy and so our future prosperity is increasingly linked to the ability of our businesses to deliver their customers with better outcomes through new products, services and processes.

“Through this partnership, and by working much more closely together, we can have a much higher impact by building on the key interceptions between the national goals of Innovate UK and the local ambitions of the Leeds City Region.”

Andrew Wright also commented: “By signing today’s partnership agreement, we are taking a huge step towards achieving this aim, helping us to be both recognised on the global stage and to attract the talent, ideas and investment we need.

“This agreement is also about supporting the many SMEs and businesses already in our region that see innovation as key to growth for them. By creating an environment that will nurture innovation, we will create a strong, productive, resilient economy where an uplift in productivity and business competitiveness will go hand in hand with access to good jobs and higher wages for all.”

Original image and article sourced by The LEP