£850k funding boost for digital sector innovators in Leeds

Duke Studios directors James Abbott-Donnelly and Laura Wellington.
Duke Studios directors James Abbott-Donnelly and Laura Wellington.
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Council bosses in Leeds today announced the final two schemes that will benefit from a fund that is driving the city’s booming digital sector towards even greater success.

Duke Studios and FutureLabs have received a total of £848,000 from the £3.7m Leeds Tech Hub Fund, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

Duke Studios has been awarded £393,000 from the Leeds City Council-run fund to transform its warehouse space at Sheaf Street, off Crown Point Road in the South Bank area, into a new digital and technology event centre.

It will boast state-of-the-art projection, sound and streaming facilities as well as an innovation lab that will allow the rapid creation of physical objects after they are designed on screen.

The Eastgate-based FutureLabs hub, meanwhile, has been handed £455,000 to help its work supporting the growth of early-stage tech businesses.

Leeds Tech Hub Fund grants for four other digital projects in the city were announced earlier this year.

Coun James Lewis, the council’s executive member for resources and strategy, said: “The quality of bids which we received was outstanding and far exceeded the money available, which is I believe testament to the many creative and talented people and businesses in the Leeds tech sector. 

“I am delighted to be able to announce that the two final projects to receive assistance from the fund will include the creation of a state-of-the-art events space and prototyping facility by Duke Studios, and the continuing important work by FutureLabs with early-stage tech businesses.

“While the digital sector in Leeds is fast growing we are certainly not being complacent.

“We will be continuing to work closely with partners to ensure that progress continues to be made here in the city and also with parallel investments in Manchester and Sheffield to promote the growth of the northern tech sector.” Council chiefs set up the Leeds Tech Hub Fund after being given £3.7m by the Government to further the development of local digital industries.

The previous grant recipients include property company Bruntwood, which was awarded £2m in April to establish a tech hub at Platform, its high-profile redevelopment of City House above Leeds train station.