A new tech incubator to help drive growth of innovative digital companies in the Leeds City Region has officially launched at Bruntwood’s flagship Platform building on the first day of the annual Leeds Digital Festival.
To mark the launch, industry leaders and customers were invited to a day of workshops and events at Platform including product demonstrations from current customers Coptrz and Kwizzbit.
Some of the region’s key champions in the digital sector were also in attendance for a roundtable discussion. Speakers including Coun James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council and Stuart Clarke, director of Leeds Digital Festival debated issues surrounding accelerating growth in the tech sector. Topics included talent attraction to the region and improving the way city region’s tech and digital profile are marketed internationally.
Supported by Leeds City Council’s Tech Hub Fund, the new incubator is designed to nurture start-up and scale up businesses from the region’s fast-growing digital technology sector and help create hundreds of high value-added jobs over the next few years.
Companies based at the tech incubator benefit from a wide package of support services including access to finance, talent and markets advice provided by delivery partners including talent support services company Complete Resourcing, business advisers Grant Thornton, specialist tech investors Mercia, Jumpstart and full service national law firm Shoosmiths.
Recent research by Tech Nation found that Leeds is home to the highest number of scale up digital companies outside the South East, with 3,500 in the city alone and 9,000 in the wider region. The focus of the tech incubator is to bring these businesses together to foster greater collaboration and growth.
Craig Burrow, director of Bruntwood Leeds, said: “The digital tech sector in Leeds is booming with more than 23,000 people currently working in the sector and it’s crucial to provide the spaces and services that support the companies behind this.
“The tech incubator is already fast becoming the nucleus of the digital and tech community in the city, showcasing Leeds’ ambitions for growth and helping to drive further investment and job creation in the knowledge economy – a key element of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”
The creation of the incubator at Platform is part of a government-backed initiative to accelerate the growth of the high-value added digital sector in the North. Bruntwood and its delivery partners were awarded £2m from Leeds City Council in 2017 to launch the new facility.
Kirstie Shapley, programme and partnership manager for the tech incubator, said: “Our vision is to create a community where like-minded businesses can cluster, allowing innovation and entrepreneurship to come together to forge partnerships and most importantly deliver business growth.
“Our Incubator offers companies from the sector a seat at the table of Leeds’ thriving tech community and a fantastic opportunity to access our network.”
The Leeds Digital Festival 2018 runs until April 26 and comprises more than 150 talks, showcases and networking events.