New Digital Catapult Centres to open in Sunderland, Brighton and Bradford

LEP-led scheme to boost local tech clusters in regional centres

The Digital Catapult Centre initiative, a national innovation scheme created to nurture innovative digital business ideas, today announced the planned opening of three new Catapult Centres in Sunderland, Brighton and Bradford.

Created as part of the Technology Strategy Board’s wider Catapult Centre initiative, each Centre will act as a physical hub in which entrepreneurs, start-ups, researchers and corporates can collaborate on development projects.

The announcement coincided with this week’s opening of the first Digital Catapult Centre in King’s Cross, London, which will act as a national headquarters for the initiative.

The Digital Catapult Centre said each of the three Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) selected to take part (Coast to Capital,  North East and Tees Valley, and Yorkshire) will receive resources and collaborative support of up to £500,000 to launch the regional centres, all due to open in March 2015.

Its announcement will come as a boost to digital businesses operating in the selected regions, most notably in Brighton, which was named as Startups’ 15th best city to start a business in the UK largely due to its “Silicon Beach” creative, tech and digital cluster.

The three LEPs were selected following a competitive bidding process ,in which 17 applications from LEPs were received supported by more than 50 businesses, local authorities and university partners.

Neil Crockett, CEO of the Digital Catapult initiative, said: “Some of the most exciting digital innovation in the UK is happening in local communities that bring together new ideas, businesses, universities and the public sector.

“As a national centre, it is important we support and collaborate with these local innovation communities who are doing amazing things in our focus areas. The open call has only reinforced our view that there are many brilliant digital innovation communities across the UK, and we hope it is the start to building a whole range of exciting future relationships.”

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