Metro Mayor launches new LCR Future Innovation Fund to support the city region’s most innovative SMEs

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Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, has launched the £3m LCR Future Innovation Fund to support businesses in the region to adapt and innovate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivered through Growth Platform, the new fund will provide grants to support SMEs that have reacted innovatively to the changed business environment created by COVID-19.

The fund is part of a wider response by the Metro Mayor and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, to re-purpose and re-shape the funding available for businesses. These funds are being made available via the Strategic Investment Fund to meet the needs of the city region’s business community.

The first wave of the fund will provide £1m of funding and will be open for applications from today (12 June 2020), with grants of between £25,000 and £100,000 available. Subsequent releases of the fund will be shaped by learning from the initial scheme.

Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, said: “Businesses in Liverpool City Region have shown an unbelievable ability to adapt and innovate their current business models to successfully weather these extremely challenging times. The overriding priority for us all has to be the safety of the people who live and work in the City Region

“We need to ensure those businesses are supported so that they can help drive our ambitions for inclusive growth in the City Region beyond the far-reaching impact of COVID-19.

“Our economy will need major financial support from central government to recover but we have to do what we can to support businesses in the here and now.

“This is a limited fund but I am sure that it will make a huge difference to businesses who have shown innovation, ingenuity and agility in their responses to this terrible economic shock.”

The grants will be awarded to businesses that can demonstrate alignment to the Local Industrial Strategy priority areas of:

  • Building a sustainable industrial future: manufacturing and engineering businesses that are adapting their businesses and processes to respond to new market opportunities and industry requirements.
  • Open health innovation: businesses with opportunities to support the health and wellbeing of LCR residents and nationally/globally, during and following the pandemic.
  • Global cultural capital: businesses with opportunities to support the resilience of LCR’s cultural vibrancy during and following the pandemic.
  • Zero carbon economy: businesses pioneering sustainable approaches to living, travel and doing business in a post pandemic world.
  • Tech for good: businesses that use technology and data to improve society, including but not limited to smart city applications, pan-sector digitalisation and AI diffusion.
  • Digitalisation: business initiatives in any sector that will yield a clear improvement in business productivity, adaptability and/or diversification.

Eligible companies must be a registered SME, operational before 1 January 2020 with headquarters or significant operations in the Liverpool City Region. For further eligibility details and information on how to apply please visit: growthplatform.org/future-innovation-fund/

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