A transformational £5m project led by Liverpool John Moores University, in partnership with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will put Liverpool City Region’s digital and creative industries (DCI) sector at the forefront of innovation in emerging digital technologies. LCR Activate is a three-year European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) initiative. The project will offer Liverpool City Region DCI SMEs access to a range of specialist innovation support including advice and mentoring, events and workshops, networks and facilities, and finance for digital product development and exploitation. It will lever the world class capabilities at LJMU, FACT and other key innovation assets, working closely with the Local Growth Hub. Professor Paulo Lisboa, Head of Department of Applied Mathematics at the LJMU Faculty of Engineering and Technology, and Project Director, explained: “The digital and creative sector is a national success story through innovation and new technology, and we want the Liverpool City Region to have a major part in this. SMEs will have access to facilities like Sensor City and the University Enterprise Zone, which is transforming UK industry through high performance computing, artificial intelligence,big data and cognitive technologies.” Margot James, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and local growth champion for the region, commented: “Innovative small businesses are the bedrock of our economy – when they thrive so does the entire UK. This is why developing the UK’s strengths in science, research and innovation is at the heart of our Industrial Strategy. This initiative will provide a springboard for creative and digital businesses to capture rapidly evolving technology and I want to congratulate Liverpool John Moores University for their continued support of the region’s innovation and small business community.” Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said: “I really cannot overstate the importance of this programme and its enormous potential. We are blessed with an outstanding collection of digital assets. Being able to link innovative SMEs with facilities like Sensor City as part of world-class digital eco-system will have a transformational impact. I have said that I want to put our City Region into the forefront of global tech cities. This is one of the ways in which we will be able to realise that ambition.” Jo Wright, FACT’s Executive Director, said: “FACT has always worked with pioneers and innovators in emerging media, and LCR Activate is the next step in placing art and design-centred thinking at the heart of the Liverpool City Region’s creative and digital industries, using some of its most transformative assets.” Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “Stimulating innovation across the Liverpool City Region is fundamental to creating jobs and enhancing productivity. Connecting SMEs in our vibrant digital and creative sector with our distinctive major assets and capabilities will not only help them to scale up, but will also accelerate growth across the whole City Region economy.” The official launch of the LCR Activate project will take place on 3rd October at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool. The event will consist of two sessions outlining the key themes of the project and relevant case studies followed by a panel Q&A. The evening will round off with a networking session, giving guests the opportunity to explore the proposal in more detail with key project members and industry colleagues. Guests can register their interest for this event now via Eventbrite to receive an official invite here.