By Steve McCaskill
The government-backed Digital Catapult claims the opening of three new innovation centers in Brighton, Yorkshire and the North East and Tees Valley will bring £9m worth of additional investment to each local 'digital economy.'
The three centers were announced late last year and each focus on a different challenge facing the digital economy.
Yorkshire, based in Bradford, will focus on data in health and social care, Brighton will look at the 'Internet of Place' and the North East, based in Sunderland, will turn its attention to data sharing innovation.
Digital Catapult does not offer government funding to startups directly and instead provides support and resources to help commercialize ideas or form partnerships with local academic institutions or businesses.
The London-based Digital Catapult Centre opened in November, when the three new centers were announced, and has so far had 5,000 visitors and held 70 events. It is hoped that by expanding the initiative to other parts of the country, more talent can be reached and the benefits of the digital economy can be expanded beyond the boundaries of the capital.
"The Digital Catapult is here to help create new opportunities across the UK and unlock innovation and value from sharing closed and proprietary data," said Neil Crockett, Digital Catapult CEO. "The truth is the most exciting digital innovation is happening in local communities, like the North East and Tees Valley, who are bringing together new ideas, businesses, universities and the public sector.
"As a national center, it is important we support and collaborate with these local innovation communities, it is from these local hotspots that we will find the best innovation, create the most relevant products and reap the economic benefit for the UK."