Innovation Festival to highlight energy, low carbon and funding opportunities

09 October 2023

An event aimed to put a spotlight on low carbon, energy and financial support available to help start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs in Lancashire to grow is being hosted at AMRC North West. 

Lancashire’s annual Innovation Festival is being delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank, supported by Lancashire County Council’s Innovate Lancashire initiative and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Innovation Board – and will be held on Friday (October 13). 

This year’s festival will have two central themes: Energy and low carbon, finance and funding and bring together start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs from across the county together with innovation experts, universities, support agencies, and policymakers. Successful entrepreneurs who have grown their businesses by being innovative, and advisors from services like Boost, Innovate UK, and Access to Finance, will also be in attendance.

Prof Melissa Conlon, commercial director at AMRC North West, said: “AMRC North West is greatly looking forward to hosting this year’s Lancashire Innovation Festival. Not only will attendees be able to see some of the incredible technologies we are developing which could transform their business, we will be sharing our expertise around key issues like net zero and energy usage which affect companies of all sizes, and from all sectors.”

This year’s festival will be introduced by Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, and Chair of the Lancashire Innovation Board. He said: “The Lancashire Innovation Festival continues to go from strength to strength, and this year’s focus on finance, energy and low carbon highlights how it continues to address the issues which really matter to Lancashire businesses.

“I will also be taking the opportunity to share with delegates details of the new Lancashire Innovation Plan and highlight some of the opportunities set to be offered by incoming projects like the National Cyber Force and Eden Project Morecambe. Further, I’ll be outlining how innovation doesn’t have to be hi-tech, complicated, or expensive, to be commercially effective.”

Delyth Edwards, from the British Business Bank, added: “Lancashire has a rich tradition of applying innovative thinking to create products and services which have been sold to the world. Supporting, nurturing and celebrating that spirit is what the Lancashire Innovation Festival is all about, and the British Business Bank is proud to be its partner. 

“We’ll also be using the festival to share with delegates details of government-backed funding schemes which Lancashire SMEs can tap into to support innovation-led growth.”

Leading on the energy and low carbon theme will be AMRC North West, part of the University of Sheffield and RedCAT technology hub in East Lancashire. Both organisatons will be demonstrating how innovative interventions can help businesses reduce their energy usage and carbon footprint, while simultaneously boosting their productivity. 

During the morning, there will also be a series of discussion panels exploring the issue of sustainability, with contributions from CEO of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, and the LEP’s low carbon lead, Miranda Barker OBE. 

In addition, Iain Martin, AMRC North West’s theme lead for Low Carbon Smart Buildings, will be talking delegates through the AMRC’s Low Carbon Smart Building Demonstrator, a facility which helps manufacturers reduce their emissions by retrofitting digital technologies onto legacy equipment and reimagining the traditional factory floor. Delegates will also get the chance to tour AMRC North West and discover more innovation-led solutions to the challenges of net zero.  

The afternoon’s discussions and presentations will be focused on finance. Led by the British Business Bank’s North West senior manager, Delyth Edwards, the first session will look at how the British Business Bank, and other government-backed finance programmes, can support innovative Lancashire businesses looking to grow. 

The British Business Bank recently announced details of its Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II (NPIF II), a £660 million investment fund which will support the growth of SMEs across the North of England from early 2024.

This will be followed by sessions hosted by Innovate UK, and the new Lancashire Funding Hub, which will explore the wider funding and finance landscape. Lancashire businesses who themselves have benefited from such funding programmes will be on hand to share their insights and advice with delegates.

The Lancashire Innovation Festival will run from 9am -4pm on October 13. Tickets are free but limited, you can register here.

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