The Government has injected £75 million into regional innovation hubs to support local businesses and fuel regional economies across the UK. The scheme will launch eight new Launchpads through Innovate UK, following successful tests in Liverpool and Teesside, to drive new ‘game-changing’ innovations in areas such as digital technologies and net zero.
Each Launchpad in the programme will be provided a funding grant of £7.5 million to fund innovation projects to support the needs of each business community in order to grow their local economy.
John Kirk, Deputy CEO at Inspired Thinking Group, commented: “A regional innovation drive is hugely encouraging, supporting nationwide socio-economic development to support the UK’s growing business ecosystem. Whether it’s budding startups or the world’s largest brands, all businesses rely on MarTech to raise brand awareness and drive sales leads, so it is important that marketing technology is a priority focus for these innovation hubs.
“As companies decentralise from major centres such as London, it is also increasingly important that they continue to reach their audience through marketing campaigns, tapping into unique local market trends to maintain engagement. Innovative solutions such as Storyteq, for example, can enable businesses to produce localised content compliant with brand guidelines. Content can then be scaled and activated across regions both nationally and internationally to ensure businesses feel the full impact of their marketing efforts.”
The Launchpads have been strategically chosen in areas of the UK with promising innovation potential with the aim of providing businesses with opportunities to collaborate, share ideas and form joint ventures. Sachin Agrawal, Zoho UK Managing Director, said: “Regional innovation hubs are a positive step in reducing the reliance on city centres for businesses and supporting the redistribution of economic wealth away from overcrowded urban areas. IWG recently revealed that half of UK firms have opened up offices outside of city centres and it’s good to see businesses realising the cost savings and additional community and employee benefits that regional offices bring.
“Supported by regional investment and innovation boosts, businesses can provide greater opportunities in rural areas, helping to retain regional talent while improving the quality of life for staff who can enjoy a more affordable lifestyle and be closer to their families.
“For businesses launching or moving to rural areas, technology plays a vital part in enabling them to operate successfully through unified communication systems that enable core functions such as seamless communication and access to real-time data. This redistribution of talent and economic wealth can help growing local economies and business communities to thrive.”
George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “From Glasgow satellite manufacturing to Manchester materials, Teeside hydrogen and Liverpool life sciences, alongside as many as 25 other globally recognised hubs around the UK – we have world class R&D – and supporting these regional clusters of world class innovation is central to our plan to make the UK an ‘Innovation Nation’.
“That is why we have launched our flagship Launchpads programme – and this £75 million investment will support high-growth companies to build the industries of tomorrow – in sectors from renewable energy through to digital health. These Launchpads will play a pivotal role in growing our local economies, creating jobs and levelling up the UK.”
The 8 clusters, following investment in Liverpool City Region and Teesside, to receive funding are:
- Net Zero Industry Launchpad – Located in South West Wales, this Launchpad is dedicated to the pursuit of sustainable solutions in net-zero industrial emissions
- Digital Technologies Launchpad – Positioned in North East England, this Launchpad will be at the forefront of digital technologies applied into fast growth and emerging markets
- Health Technologies Launchpad – Based in West Yorkshire, this Launchpad is dedicated to pioneering breakthroughs in technologies that will improve healthcare outcomes
- Agri-tech and Food Tech Launchpad – Nestled in Eastern England, this Launchpad will revolutionise agri-tech and food technology, driving innovation in food production and sustainability
- Marine and Maritime Launchpad – Located in the Great South West, this Launchpad will support initiatives in marine and maritime industries, fostering growth and sustainability in this sector
- Bio-based Manufacturing Launchpad – Positioned in Scotland, this Launchpad will drive innovations in bio-based manufacturing, promoting sustainable production methods
- Immersive and Creative Industries Launchpad – Centred on Coventry and Warwickshire in the West Midlands, this Launchpad will champion technologies for the creative industries and immersive experiences, paving the way for ground-breaking innovations. Innovate UK will deliver this Launchpad in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Life and Health Sciences Launchpad – Situated in Northern Ireland, this Launchpad is dedicated to the advancement of healthcare solutions and medical breakthroughs