Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has announced £1.1m of funding from the Future Innovation Fund Pilot to 22 local SMEs who have continued to innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to the city region’s economic recovery.

Amongst those awarded the funding are Baltic Creative tenants, Make Thread, MGISS (Mobile GIS Services), Damibu and Farm Urban.

This is the second round of funding from the £3m Future Innovation Fund Pilot, which distributed £1 million to 14 local SMEs back in August.

Launched by the Mayor in mid-June, the £3m Future Innovation Fund is providing grants to support SMEs that are continuing to innovate in the changed business environment created by COVID-19.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“The past few months have thrown up challenges for local businesses of a variety and scale that I don’t think any of us could ever have predicted. Local businesses have shown a remarkable ability to change and adapt to these ever-changing circumstances.

“We have moved quickly alongside them, launching the Future Innovation Fund to give them the support that they need to continue to innovate through and, ultimately, survive this difficult period and get our region flourishing again in the future.”

Sarah O’Brien, Co-founder of Make Thread, said:

“We are thrilled to have the support from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and its latest contribution to local businesses in their Future Innovation Fund. At Make Thread our aim is to combat unsustainability and inaccessibility within fashion by making social and environmental process changes in how it is produced and consumed. The FIF will accelerate our mission to digitally scale and optimise the business in creating a sustainable and fairer solution to fashion’s outdated ecosystem, as well as driving exciting opportunities to the LCR”.

Make Thread are developing a sustainable social marketplace for fashion designers / creatives addressing issues with “fast fashion” – incorporating process efficiencies to allow scale-up/response to increased demand.

Paul Myers, Managing Director, Farm Urban, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that our application to the Future Innovation Fund has been successful. This funding will be transformational in our recovery plans post COVID – it will allow us to increase resilience, improve efficiency and adapt to new markets presented to us through the pandemic. This will in turn allow us to expand our vertical farm in The Baltic Triangle, increasing the amount of hyper local, fresh and nutritious food we are able to provide to local residents.”

Farm Urban was born out of the Life Sciences Department at the University of Liverpool and is improving efficiency in vertical farming to help grow sustainable fresh produce in the heart of urban areas.

Successful applicants in round two of the Future Innovation Fund also included:

  • Damibu Ltd – An innovative system which aggregate multiple data streams to provide a digestible resource for the NHS, care services and local authority organisations.
  • Mobile GIS Services Ltd (t/a MGISS) – Ground-breaking software-as-a-service, which uses satellite data to secure greater efficiency in the management of infrastructure assets

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