Posted on August 24, 2017 by staff

Liverpool digital SMEs to benefit from £5m project


A “transformational” £5 million project backed by the EU will put the Liverpool City Region’s digital and creative industries at the forefront of innovation.

Led by Liverpool John Moores University in partnership with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, LCR Activate is a three-year European Regional Development Fund initiative.

The project will offer SMEs in the region access to a range of specialist innovation support including advice and mentoring, events and workshops, networks and facilities, and finance for digital product development and exploitation.

It will lever the world class capabilities at LJMU, FACT and other key innovation assets, working closely with the Local Growth Hub.

“I really cannot overstate the importance of this programme and its enormous potential,” said Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

“We are blessed with an outstanding collection of digital assets. Being able to link innovative SMEs with facilities like Sensor City as part of a world-class digital ecosystem will have a transformational impact.

“I have said that I want to put our City Region into the forefront of global tech cities. This is one of the ways in which we will be able to realise that ambition.”

Rotheram (below, second from left)  recently visted Peel Ports’ Liverpool2 container project and said it represented a global opportunity for the city.

Asif Hamid MBE (pictured below), chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP, said the project could create jobs through the scaling of start-up businesses.

“Stimulating innovation across the Liverpool City Region is fundamental to creating jobs and enhancing productivity,” he said.

“Connecting SMEs in our vibrant digital and creative sector with our distinctive major assets and capabilities will not only help them to scale up, but will also accelerate growth across the whole City Region economy.”

Professor Paulo Lisboa, head of department of applied mathematics at the LJMU faculty of engineering and technology, and project director, said: “The digital and creative sector is a national success story through innovation and new technology, and we want the Liverpool City Region to have a major part in this.

“SMEs will have access to facilities like Sensor City and the University Enterprise Zone, which is transforming UK industry through high performance computing, artificial intelligence, Big Data and cognitive technologies.”

FACT executive director Jo Wright said: “FACT has always worked with pioneers and innovators in emerging media, and LCR Activate is the next step in placing art and design-centred thinking at the heart of the Liverpool City Region’s creative and digital industries, using some of its most transformative assets.”

The official launch of the LCR Activate project will take place on October 3rd at FACT.