THE West Yorkshire Innovation Network was officially launched at an event in Baildon.
West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin showed her support for the network by visiting aerospace engineers, Produmax, at Sapper Jordan Rossi Park yesterday.
The visit took place as Mandy Ridyard, Chief Financial Officer of Produmax, was announced as the new chair of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network. Through her current role as a member of the LEP Board of Directors, a member of the Business Economics and Innovation Committee, Co-Chair of the Local Digital Skills Partnership and Chair of the Space Hub Yorkshire, Mandy advocates already innovation, business growth and skills across the region.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority established WYIN in June 2020 following the West Yorkshire devolution agreement and has since gained momentum to encourage a greater propensity for companies to engage in innovation activities .
The goal of WYIN is to “create a collective place to help businesses access support, encourage and nurture innovative ideas and position the region as a hub of innovation”.
The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) current innovation program, Connecting Innovation, provides businesses with a point of entry to all this support available. WYIN further strengthens this to give businesses a more integrated platform to access the support they need, whether it’s academic research, product prototyping, specialist expertise, or funding.
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With its first collaboration, WYIN launched the very first West Yorkshire Innovation Festival in 2021 to highlight the wide support available and raise the profile of Innovation West Yorkshire.
WYIN brings together organizations, partners, stakeholders and private sector companies that will support regional innovation activity. It will link with industry initiatives, such as Healthtech Catalyst and AMPI, while also responding as a collective lobbying voice on national government policy; all of this defines the central role that the region can play in helping to realize the ambitions of the national innovation strategy and the broader program for upgrading the regions.
Ms Brabin said: “Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and our recovery. The West Yorkshire Innovation Network is our way of advancing this spirit of invention and creativity in our region. It cements our partnership with organizations and how we can work together to achieve our regional priorities, while developing the most inclusive and diverse ecosystem where innovation really is for everyone.
“The network got off to a good start by launching the first West Yorkshire Innovation Festival and providing a collaborative response to the government’s national innovation strategy. There is so much potential in our region and as part of my commitments to support local businesses and prioritize skills and training, the Network has my full support.
Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the NP11 Group of Northern LEPs, said: “Our region is full of budding innovators whom we want to nurture, inspire and support. The West Yorkshire Innovation Network brings together the innovation ecosystem – support providers and business representatives – not only to align the innovation offer, but also to ensure that businesses receive the right support, that they in terms of financial investments, specialized expertise or product development.
“The collaborative ambition of the network is to increase innovation activity and provide opportunities for all who wish to innovate, so that we can establish West Yorkshire as an innovation hub to drive investment and the growth.