Today sees the very first Innovation Week in Leicestershire taking place from until 1st March, when local businesses will earn how to innovate, grow and access millions in funding to support new ideas.
The LLEP Business Gateway, in partnership with Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnership and three local universities are working together to deliver three events with a focus on Textiles, Food and Drink Manufacturing and Logistics, all of which have been identified as growth sectors in the county.
Leicestershire is not well known for innovation despite being home to many successful innovative companies. Over 98% of local businesses are micro or small (1- 49 employees) and working in a highly competitive environment. To stay ahead of the competition, it is important that they take advantage of the opportunities and challenges offered by new technologies and government investment priorities.
Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, has sponsored these events for local businesses to make it easier to innovate by accessing business insights, expertise and learn about potential funding support.
It is hoped that if enough innovative businesses are seeking funding, Innovation Week could lead to a Pitchfest event during Leicester Business Festival, when businesses pitch their innovative ideas to win funding support.
Julian Bowrey, Regional Manager for Innovate UK said: “Innovation is critical to every local economy. Innovate UK is developing this practical programme with local agencies to appeal to key sectors in the Leicestershire economy starting with textiles, logistics and food & drink processing. Most companies in these sectors are small businesses, work in a highly competitive environment and often think approaching a government agency or university is ‘not their thing’. These events aim to show that we are relevant to their needs, starting with listening. This is a first for us in Leicestershire and we’re looking forward to supporting local businesses to achieve their ambitions.”
Nick Pulley, LLEP Chair said: “Through our Growth Hub, LLEP Business Gateway, we are committed to supporting local businesses to thrive and grow across Leicester and Leicestershire. Innovation week will feature speakers from Leicestershire businesses who have already achieved success through innovation and the events will help businesses understand how innovation can increase commercial opportunity and maximise productivity. There is a lot of help to support businesses to innovate and these events will showcase how to access the funding and help available.”
Key speakers lined up for Leicester Innovation Week include John Dakin, Director at Verivide Limited, Byron Dixon, Managing Director at Micro-Fresh International, Richard Ledger, Managing Director at Millitech Food Systems and Shahid Sheikh, Managing Director, Clifton Packaging Group.