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Leeds’ success in hosting major international MIT innovation programme

Leeds and the City Region are proud to have recently hosted a prestigious international innovation programme, in partnership with one of the world’s most famous universities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Delegates from Central Denmark, Monterrey (Mexico), Campania (Italy), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Kentucky, Oslo and Sydney visited the city for the three day programme, which was hosted in the UK’s iconic innovation hub, Nexus.

Leeds hosted this stage in the global programme at the end of January 2020, having successfully bid for a place on the globally renowned two-year MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) last year. Over a hundred leaders from government, business, universities and finance as well as entrepreneurs from across the world converged on Leeds with the aim of understanding more about the region’s strengths and ambitions, and to assist in positioning Leeds and the City Region at the forefront of the Government’s drive for national growth and increased competitiveness.

The wide-ranging MIT programme saw the international teams join interactive workshops at Nexus, as well as attending networking events across the city. The workshop helped Leeds develop new strategies to implement change, to support innovation and inclusive growth, something essential for the economic success of the region itself. With three million people, the Leeds City Region is the UK’s largest economic area outside London and generates more than 5% of the UK’s economic outputs.

Claire Heap, Head of ConferenceLeeds, said: “We were so pleased to be able to host the MIT innovation programme here in Leeds last month, and were particularly pleased to see this event take place in the innovative Nexus building located on the University of Leeds campus in a new state-of-the-art building, which provided all of the attendees with easy access to the important research and expertise of the University. Our participation in MIT REAP, and the opportunity to showcase the Leeds City Region to our international counterparts only strengthens the reputation of the city and allows us to learn from their expertise, with the aim of accelerating economic growth, creating more jobs and making the region more attractive to growing businesses and start-ups.”

The MIT innovation programme provides expert, evidence-based guidance to support regions to accelerate economic growth, job creation and social change. It has helped nations and cities such as Beijing, Tokyo and Qatar, shape their economic and societal impact.