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A global destination for inclusive innovation

Why Innovate in Leeds?

Our city is a destination for entrepreneurs, innovators and research experts; home to innovative start-ups, world class universities and global corporates, who are not afraid to push boundaries, create new products, services and employment.

Our strengths

World class expertise and proximity to major markets such as Health, Financial and Professional services, Media, Creative and Digital make Leeds a magnet for talent and advancements in AI, big data and other new technologies which cut across sectors.


The best location for scale-ups

Leeds is the top location for scale-ups outside London1, with many operating across an international footprint. As a city we offer a range of high quality workspaces for both start-ups and corporates, with connectivity to transport, leisure and retail, and a lifestyle which blends the best in city and country living.

We have a strong innovation ecosystem covering many sectors and established networks, connecting organisations nationally and internationally. Our Digital community is our key strength, attracting a vibrant mix of start-ups, scale-ups and corporates. Whether it’s Health Tech, Fin Tech, Tech4Good or Legal Tech, there’s no better place than Leeds to find and test disruptive innovations – for the past three years, Leeds has seen the fastest growth in the country in digital sector employment (48%) and 8,500 jobs are supported by the digital tech sector.

1 Scale-Up Institute Annual Report 2020


Crisp is a global leader in social media issue detection and crisis monitoring. They keep some of the world’s biggest brands and platforms, along with their users, safe from toxic content online. Crisp continues to rapidly expand while proudly keeping its R&D and innovation, firmly in Leeds.

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Planet-U Energy

The UK’s fastest growing independent renewable energy provider, Planet-U Energy, was established in Leeds in 2018. The firm is continually expanding, and in 2020 acquired a business specialising in renewable tech for commercial and industrial property – the move allowed them to expand operations to Europe, with plans to open a second office in Leeds in the near future.

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Pan Intelligence

Software company Pan Intelligence began life in Leeds in 2014 as a group of six, headed by CEO Zandra Moore and CTO Ken Miller. In 2017 they were recognised as one of the fastest growing technology companies in the North, and in 2019 they opened a second office in Boston, USA. They now employ over 40 people.

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AI - Scaled Insights

Scaled Insights started with IMC’s introduction to IBM’s fledgling Watson Solutions. IMC became IBM Watson’s first and lead partner for Canada and the Caribbean. Since then, Scaled Insights has worked to design an AI solution, which they call “Behavioural AI”. They build solutions for some of the worlds’ largest corporations, helping them to better communicate with people regarding their health and wellness, understand what motivates humans to make decisions and choices, personalise communications and nudges, and define behavioural clusters.

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Our focus on innovation and entrepreneurship

Alongside deep sector strengths, Leeds has a broad base of industries, manufacturing capabilities and a diverse demographic which makes it an ideal research and development hub and test-bed for UK and international markets.

Agility, collaboration and diversity are key drivers for innovation and critical to our collective success. Participation in the prestigious MIT REAP programme brought senior leaders together from across the region, to focus on identifying and driving innovation to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through purpose-led collaboration.

BUILD a better tomorrow

 BUILD was one of the interventions developed by Leeds City Region out of the  Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP). BUILD, a 12-weekstart-up accelerator programme for aspiring entrepreneurs and founders was run to help those creating innovative businesses that can groe to have a positive impact on the world.  The programme provided a diverse set of  entrepreneurs tailored support and connections to test and accelerate socially useful innovations on a global scale. 

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Future Fashion Factory

Future Fashion Factory is a £5.4 million research and development partnership developing new digital and advanced textile technologies to boost the design of high-value creative products. With the University of Leeds School of Design playing a central role for research and technology, and connecting with industrial partners such as Burberry to lead and define collaborative research focusing on innovative solutions to real-world problems for the industry.

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