innovation funding

Leeds City Council has launched new funding support for local innovators through the Innovation@Leeds programme, providing £55,000 to enhance skills, networking, and investment opportunities for entrepreneurs. This initiative aims to promote Leeds as an innovation hub and boost economic growth by supporting businesses from diverse backgrounds.

What new funding support is available for business innovation in Leeds?

Leeds City Council has launched new funding support for local innovators through the Innovation@Leeds programme. Six successful applicants have received a total of £55,000 to host events aimed at enhancing skills, networking, and investment opportunities, particularly for entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. This funding is part of a broader strategy to promote Leeds as an innovation hub and stimulate economic growth.

Business Innovation Funding in Leeds

Leeds City Council has recently reinforced its commitment to fostering local innovation by confirming new funding support aimed at local business innovators. This initiative is part of the council’s Innovation@Leeds programme, which earlier this year, called for grant applications from organizations seeking to contribute to the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The response was substantial, with nearly 60 applications submitted. Following a rigorous selection process, six applicants emerged victorious, receiving a combined total of £55,000 to fund their projects.

The beneficiaries of these grants are expected to host a variety of knowledge-sharing events. These events will cover mentorship, networking, and other associated activities and are particularly focused on individuals from diverse backgrounds aiming to establish or expand innovation-led businesses. The strategic allocation of this funding is anticipated to enhance their skills, widen their professional network, and increase their personal investment appeal, thereby elevating their prospects for success in their respective domains.

Furthermore, the funding aligns with broader economic strategies, as it is designed to spur inclusive growth and promote Leeds’s position as a hub of innovation to potential investors. This initiative not only supports the individual entrepreneur but also serves as a catalyst for the local economy, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between innovation and economic development.

Highlighted Initiatives and Events

The initiatives selected for grant funding are diverse, each with a unique focus and potential impact. Here is a breakdown of the events and projects that have been awarded the grants:

  • Climb24: A dynamic ‘innovation, industry and investment’ festival set at Leeds Dock, engaging 30 local businesses—many led by individuals from under-represented communities. This event offers them an opportunity to showcase their ideas to potential partners, industry leaders, and customers. The successful turnout of the previous year’s Climb23 event is a testament to the burgeoning innovation spirit in Leeds.

  • The Athena Festival: Taking place at the University of Leeds’s Nexus innovation hub, this pioneering, day-long conference will connect female founders, investors, and stakeholders from across the North.

  • Include Me and D-List: These open community platforms will conduct events and activities, including a workshop exploring funding options for 100 Black business founders, facilitating their engagement with potential investors.

  • Ingenuity innovation hub: The development of an innovation hub at White Rose Park in south Leeds will be furthered by a co-design workshop, among other activities, aiming to establish a testbed for the innovation ecosystem.

  • Greenhouse innovation accelerator programme: Four interactive events will be hosted in Leeds, with live streaming available nationwide, focusing on innovations in the green, eco, and sustainability sectors.

  • Leeds Digital Health: A series of three events will enable digital health leaders and innovators to exchange best practices, supplemented by website development and promotional work organized by a consortium.

These events not only spotlight the diverse sectors within Leeds’s innovation landscape but also reinforce the city’s inclusive approach to economic growth and development.

The Leeds Innovation Arc and City-Wide Vision

A cornerstone of Leeds’s innovation strategy is the Leeds Innovation Arc, an area situated on the west side of the city center. It is renowned for its prestigious educational, health, and cultural establishments and serves as a fertile ground for startups, scale-ups, and major businesses. The Arc exemplifies Leeds’s status in leading-edge sectors, including health innovation and various technologies, and is supported by ‘anchor’ institutions such as the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, and Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, transport and sustainable development, remarked on the city’s objectives:

“We are determined to give people from all backgrounds and communities across our city the best possible chance to make the most of their talents. The events and projects supported by the new Innovation@Leeds grants will help us achieve our aim by providing a launchpad for a diverse range of business founders, aspiring entrepreneurs and imaginative thinkers. Success for them will, it is hoped, bring wider benefits to the city’s economy through the creation of jobs and other opportunities. The grants also underline the role that collaboration has played and continues to play in Leeds’s innovation sector, where world-class research and development work blazes a trail alongside high-growth businesses and a skilled labour market.”

The implementation of similar grant schemes by Innovation@Leeds during the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years reflects a consistent effort by the council to stimulate innovative thinking and entrepreneurial ventures in the city.

The dedication to fostering a thriving innovation culture in Leeds is crystal clear. With targeted support and investment, the city is poised to continue its trajectory as a leading center for creativity and economic growth, ensuring that the bright ideas of today can become the successful enterprises of tomorrow.


  • Leeds City Council has launched the Innovation@Leeds programme to provide £55,000 in funding support for local innovators.
  • Six successful applicants received grants to host events aimed at enhancing skills, networking, and investment opportunities for entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.
  • The funding is part of a strategy to promote Leeds as an innovation hub and stimulate economic growth.
  • The initiatives awarded grants cover a range of events, including a festival, workshops for Black business founders, an innovation hub, and an accelerator program.
  • Leeds’s dedication to fostering innovation is evident in the Leeds Innovation Arc, supported by anchor institutions and a commitment to collaboration in the city’s innovation sector.

By george