UK’s first Digital Retail Innovation Centre to be opened in Gloucester

Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst LEP have announced a funding award of £400,000 to Marketing Gloucester to open a new national centre for digital retail innovation in the city.

The UK Digital Retail innovation Centre (UK:DRIC) will be the national centre for testing and developing disruptive digital innovations that will help shape and inform the future of cities with a special focus on retail.

 

The centre will be:

  • The national independent centre for technology solution providers and retailers to test innovative technologies and work in partnership to enhance and develop new and possibly disruptive solutions
  • A supportive incubator and catapult for high growth new retailers, all of whom will have access to next generation technologies and methodologies and will be targeted on rapid testing of their business model and growth
  • A centre for upskilling retailers in new and developing retail technologies and methodologies
  • UK:DRIC will be based on the first floor of the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Gloucester for an initial period of three years.

Diane Savory, Chair of GFirst LEP, commented “This is an exciting opportunity for Gloucestershire as it further demonstrates that our urban areas are proving to be leaders in the developing of innovation in digital retail solutions.  We are delighted to be able to award this funding to Marketing Gloucester and confident that it will lead to further inward investment from the private and public sectors.”

UKDRIC

The UK:DRIC promises to be a showcase and testbed for the latest retail technologies and could show off some future innovations such as holographic “virtual employees”, artificial intelligence, 3D scanning and printing of products, drone deliveries, robotic security guards, 360 virtual mirrors and near field communication.

 

Jason Smith, Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester (whose team will be driving the project), said “This is a huge opportunity for Gloucester to progress in our ambition to be a showcase and testbed for digital technologies, developing the city of 2050 by 2025.  There are huge challenges facing the UK retail sector and the UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre has the potential to be a gamechanger which could have a national impact, we greatly appreciate the investment from GFirst LEP.”

Paul James, Leader of Gloucester City Council, explained why this new centre was so important for the city saying: “Gloucester is ideally positioned to be a pathfinder for the

development of new technologies, the past few years companies we have shown how innovative we as a city can be.  We were the first city to implement the three in one CCTV, Wifi and 4G solution, winning the prestigious Gordon McLanaghan Security Innovation Award; and have built up a wide range of partners such as Google’s Niantic Labs, #WDYT, Rewarding Visits and BT who have tested their technologies in the city.  There is huge potential for additional inward investment and additional jobs and this investment from GFirst LEP can act as a catalyst.”

 

Advertisements

Government publishes European funds guidance for #LEPs

Government publishes European funds guidance

BIS has published a guidance for Local Enterprise Partnerships on how they should set priorities for the next round of EU funds.

In April 2013 the Government issued preliminary guidance to LEPs on how to develop their EU Structural and Investment Fund Strategies. Thissupplementary guidance sets out the information that should be included in the strategies and the criteria that will be used by Government to evaluate them.

The Local Enterprise Partnerships are asked to send their first draft of European Strategic and Investment plans by Monday 07 October 2013. The plans will be finalised by July 2014.

Download the guidance here (pdf 1,164KB)

Read more in our press release below (19 July 2013).

NCVO – European funds guidance is good news for charity sector

 

NCVO has welcomed today’s release of the Government’s supplementary guidance for Local Enterprise Partnerships, the 39 local bodies which will determine how key European funds are spent in England in the next European funding round, which runs from 2014-2020 (1).

The guidance sets out how LEPs should set priorities for their allocation of the EU Structural and Investment Funds, and reflects a number of calls from NCVO and its European Funding Network.

Key wins for the sector include:

–              Confirmation that at least 20% of the European Social Fund (ESF) must be directed to ‘social inclusion’ work, much of which could be delivered by the voluntary sector. This is a significant increase from the level of ESF funding which has reached such projects under the current funding round (2). This means around £1bn will become available for social inclusion work from 2014-2020 – £500m from the fund, matched by an additional £500m of other funding. Investments in social inclusion work are likely to be in areas such as education, training and employability.

–              The news that Big Lottery Fund has proposed to offer the necessary match funding for local social inclusion projects (3).

–              News that volunteers’ time can now be considered as an investment for the purposes of matching European funds.

–              The opportunity for social investment to be considered for matching European funds.

–              A requirement that LEPs involve the local voluntary sector in setting their priorities for how European funds are spent in their areas

–              Aside from the ESF, the other major fund, the European Regional Development Fund, may also provide opportunities for the sector. This money is intended for investment in sustainable capital development, and could be used for example to develop low-carbon retro-fitting of community buildings and social innovation start-ups.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:

‘These are major and meaningful wins for the voluntary sector, which holds much of the expertise in promoting social inclusion. The result of today’s announcements will be more European money reaching charities and the people we work with.

‘I am pleased to see that both the government and the Big Lottery Fund have responded to our calls to explore how to make match funding easier for charities and social enterprises. I hope this will be a significant step forward in helping these funds reach the voluntary sector.

‘Charities make an important contribution to the economy and economic recovery, for example in supporting people to develop their skills. LEPs now have a significant opportunity to unleash this power of the voluntary sector in promoting economic recovery and I look forward to working with them and our local partners to help them make the most of this.’

Notes

1)       The guidance will be published online shortly on the BIS website https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/making-european-funding-work-better-for-the-uk-economy/activity

2)       Based on research by TSEN, now part of NCVO, into the use of ESF in the current round of funds (2007-2013)http://europeanfundingnetwork.eu/policy/cohesion-policy-2014-2020/CivilSocietyInvolvementESFProgramme200720131.pdf

3)      European Structural and Investment Fund money must be matched by a domestic funder – this can be local or national government; private sector or voluntary sector – in order to become available.

For more information, please contact Oli Henman, Head of EU & International, Direct line: 020 7520 2550

LEP allocations for ERDF and ESF 2014 to 2020 published 27.6.2013

Annex:

LEP Allocation €m
Black Country 177.4
Buckinghamshire Thames Valley 13.9
Cheshire and Warrington 142.2
Coast to Capital 67.3
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly 592.9
Coventry and Warwickshire 136.0
Cumbria 91.4
Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire 249.7
Dorset 47.3
Enterprise M3 45.7
Gloucestershire 38.3
Greater Birmingham and Solihull 255.8
Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough 75.5
Greater Lincolnshire 133.5
Greater Manchester 415.6
Heart of the South West 118.3
Hertfordshire 69.5
Humber 102.4
Lancashire 266.3
Leeds City Region 391.2
Leicester and Leicestershire 126.3
Liverpool City Region 221.9
London 748.6
New Anglia 94.5
North Eastern 539.6
Northamptonshire 55.0
Oxfordshire LEP 19.4
Sheffield City Region 203.4
Solent 43.1
South East 185.9
South East Midlands 88.3
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire 161.6
Swindon and Wiltshire 43.6
Tees Valley 202.6
Thames Valley Berkshire 28.7
The Marches 113.7
West of England 68.6
Worcestershire 68.1
York and North Yorkshire 97.5