Open Innovations awarded Leeds City Council funding by Innovation@Leeds

This new council initiative Innovation@Leeds has been launched in recognition of the challenges created by the pandemic and the need to drive economic recovery. Our funding bid for Open Innovations is for two events and associated pre- and post-event innovation activation activities.

1. Planet Data4 - Warm-up event in Leeds Digital Festival September 2021 & Full event in October 2021 as a pre-COP26 activity.

#PlanetData4 Banner

#PlanetData is a series of events and activities that Open Innovations started in 2019 in response to the Climate Emergency and to assist everyone in reaching Net-Zero. We have placed all these activities on a hub page on the Open Innovations website.

For #PlanetData4 we already delivered a well-attended warm-up event during Leeds Digital Festival. This is to be followed by a one-day innovation event focused on how data & innovation can help us all address the climate emergency and achieve Net-Zero for everything that everyone does.

Register for #PlanetData4 through Eventbrite

The morning session will be a showcase of innovative and active businesses, organisations and individuals using data and technology to address the climate emergency. We will focus on SME's from Leeds and organisations which would like to invest in this part of the world.

The second part of the event will be open discussions where attendees get to influence the agenda. We facilitate the activity, conversations, and outputs and focus on supporting, connecting, and amplifying the great work happening in Leeds to fight the Climate Emergency and create a Net Zero city.

2. The Northernlands4 - In partnership with The Embassy of The Netherlands in Spring 2022.

Northernlands Banner

The concept of the Northernlands is one that considers the North of England as part of the outward and forward-looking, cosmopolitan, and sophisticated cities and places of Northern Europe, including Scotland and the Island of Ireland.

We proposed to work with The Embassy of The Kingdom of The Netherlands to deliver the fourth Northernlands Conference, supporting and highlighting data and innovation through a series of talks and showcases, with associated networking activity.

This will be a one or two-day event with up to four 120-150min sessions. The sessions will be a blend of talks, provocations, artwork, and showcases, with a focus upon innovation, SME's and start-ups. We will attract speakers from across the North of England and The Netherlands, with a Leeds focus.

Further details about the scheme are below:

Leeds City Council funding scheme aims to provide launchpad for next generation of business innovators


A Leeds City Council funding scheme is set to open the door to a bright business future for a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. The council launched its Innovation@Leeds scheme earlier this year when it invited grant applications from organisations that provide training, mentoring and other forms of support for people aiming to develop their own innovation-led businesses.

Now nine successful bidders have been announced, with grants ranging from £5,000 to £25,000 being awarded following a competitive process to Open Innovations, FinTech North, Paceline, Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), Whitecap Consulting, AI Tech North, The Grad Soc, No Code Lab and Nexus in collaboration with NorthInvest.

The grants will be used to fund conferences, workshops and peer support groups for a diverse set of innovators from across the city, giving them access to the latest information on technology trends as well as opportunities to build valuable business connections.

This mix of knowledge sharing, networking and enterprise-friendly activity will, it is hoped, provide a launchpad for aspiring entrepreneurs with ideas that can help tackle problems such as climate change and poverty, while also driving Leeds's recovery from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme underlines the council's long-standing commitment to the city's innovation ecosystem and its role in ensuring that people from different backgrounds have the means to make the most of their talents in fields such as digital and other emerging technologies.

The work funded by the grants should also prove timely for start-ups that, for a variety of reasons, came into existence during the pandemic and are looking for guidance and advice as they find their feet in a much-changed business world.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council's executive member for economy, culture and education, said:

"Leeds is a city brimming with talent, and we want to do everything we can to help people put that creativity, spark and passion to use in ways that benefit both them and the local economy.

"These Innovation@Leeds grants will play a part in that important process by supporting some of the many local organisations that provide the training and mentoring needed to make ideas become a reality.

"We already have a fast-growing digital sector and plenty of fantastic, forward-thinking companies. Innovation@Leeds should now help shape a new generation of entrepreneurs who will write the next chapter in the city's burgeoning tech success story."

The grants have been funded by the council's Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) budget in recognition of the challenges created by the pandemic and the need to drive economic recovery.