A business support scheme to connect digital and creative firms with academic and sector experts has received glowing feedback.
LCR Activate has added £2.65million to the value to Liverpool’s creative and digital businesses, according to a new report.
The scheme was launched in 2017 to help companies innovate by accessing local expertise, research and funding.
Led by Liverpool John Moores University, the programme has been open to the city region’s small and medium sized digital and creative businesses with a view to growing their products and services.
The three-year initiative has run in partnership with Liverpool’s Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), the Local Enterprise Partnership, and was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
In independent evaluation of the scheme by Capita reports: “The programme has been successful in creating new jobs and generating GVA in the region, with an estimated 70 gross jobs and £2.653m in gross GVA, as determined through the beneficiary survey.”
“93 per cent of surveyed companies who joined the programme were successful in their objective, while numerous businesses receiving support from LCR Activate have seen increased revenues and improved profit margins.
With access to finances as a problem for start-up companies in the city region, LCR Activate has also awarded more than £800,000 of grant funding to companies to match early stage investors’ money on a ‘£1 for £1’ basis during the programme.
Meanwhile, knowledge and understanding of the city region’s creative and digital sector which has been gained through LCR Activate is expected to continue to benefit the industry and also inform how future support programmes could work.
Jonathon Clark, project manager for LCR Activate, said: “”The main reasons businesses fail almost always come back to issues related to products, people and finances – and that it can be hard to see this straight away when things aren’t going right in your company.
“We have worked with early stage businesses to solve problems using concepts and methodologies such as product-market fit, lean startup, human-centred design and agile development.”
As well as provided hands-on support on technical and commercial topics, Jonathan and his team have also guided companies towards good mentors and to investing in leadership development.
He added: “We have a lot of case studies on our website and in our ‘Tech Climbers’ campaign that show how directors who invest the time to develop solid fundamentals reap the rewards later on in the business lifecycle.
“Many of these companies are now approaching big milestones in terms of turnover, recruitment and market share. I am very confident that it is these same companies who are only a team of four or five now, that will be employing hundreds of people in the coming years.”