Keeping focus on the West Yorkshire Innovation Festival

In March, we saw the inaugural collaborative innovation festival, an opportunity to celebrate just a small snapshot of innovation activity in the region. Chair of the Business, Innovation & Growth Panel, Andrew Wright, comments on what's next.

In March, we saw the inaugural collaborative innovation festival, an opportunity to celebrate just a small snapshot of innovation activity in the region. From panel discussions on the impact of innovation in our economic recovery post COVID-19, to inspiring stories from businesses who have transitioned, grown, evolved and shifted, to academic research into how crisis is a driver for innovation, to lively discussions on embedding change in businesses.

The festival aimed to inspire innovation and open up the conversation, connect people with the right resources, expertise and support to bring their idea to a reality. Innovation starts with an idea and our regional ambition is to better connect the SMEs who need the help and want the external support, to be able to access it and know what is available for them. A focus for the region moving forwards is to stimulate and embed an entrepreneurial and innovation led recovery and this festival helped to galvanise the ecosystem to this mission.

Almost 1,500 people from across the region attended more than 40 events from 21 organisers. 2021 is just the start and we look forward to 2022. We want to attract more businesses who are innovating, who want to innovate and who want to build connections and networks to inspire the next generation of innovators, share learnings and continue to profile the help available right now.

The West Yorkshire Innovation Network will continue to coordinate and engage with businesses in the region and work hard to bring an even bigger celebration for next year.

We hope that a post-pandemic world will allow more physical events, an opportunity to network and to keep the conversation for innovation front of mind, as this is just the start of creating a region of Innovation for Everyone.

Andrew Wright, Chair of the Business, Innovation & Growth Panel, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership

Are you looking for innovation support?

The LEP Business Support Service provides a range of programmes to support businesses looking to innovate. Our team of Innovation Growth Managers work closely with businesses to understand their needs, identify opportunities and find tailored solutions to make the relevant support more accessible. This might be collaborative projects, the generation of new ideas, gaining new skills, accessing research, knowledge and expertise or financial funding.

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.