A £300,000 fund has been launched to back ideas from artists, creatives, businesses and individuals to inspire change and grow enterprise in North Liverpool including reviving underused spaces such as empty shops.
The Cabinet Office-funded initiative, LaunchPad, is looking to fund between 10 and 15 projects in the north of the city, to the tune of between £300 and £30,000, that use innovative and creative ways to tackle problems facing the area. The entry criteria dictate that participants must be willing to collaborate, the idea must have a social impact in North Liverpool and have the potential to be viable or secure contracts on a long-term basis.
There are six key themes LaunchPad is looking to address in North Liverpool:
- spaces for change and underutilised assets
- mobilising the workforce to tackle un- and underemployment
- we make things to reclaim production and utilise skills
- real life social networks to tackle social exclusion
- making money go round for vital investment and radical banking and
- down at the docks to revitalise the docklands area
The call for ideas opened with daytime workshops and an evening launch on 19 November, followed by a Hack day in The Sandon pub on 20 November. Follow-up surgeries on 27 and 28 November and 3 and 4 December will offer support to teams with ideas to make an impact, with a deadline of 11 January 2016 for ideas to be submitted for acceptance onto LaunchPad.
Accepted teams will then have 12 weeks to work alongside each other to develop their idea, test it, demonstrate it, pop it up or prototype it, introduce it to the customer or community they hope to sell to and craft their pitch for investment.
Developed by a collective of local entrepreneurs and leaders in North Liverpool, LaunchPad is designed to encourage entrepreneurs, idea-makers and businesses to contribute to the revival that is happening in North Liverpool. It’s driven by The Beautiful ideas Co. CIC, born out of The Beautiful North – a regeneration project designed to change attitudes in North Liverpool. Partners include Flanagan Group, Liverpool Housing Trust, Your Housing, Liverpool City Council, LJMU Enterprise and entrepreneurs Jon Egan and Gemma McGowan, the latter who is owner of both the Isla Gladstone Conservatory and The Sandon.
Cllr Nick Small, chairman of Beautiful Ideas Co, said: “There’s an incredible tradition and heritage of social innovators and entrepreneurs in Liverpool. LaunchPad is about supporting that tradition so that new ideas can be applied to old challenges and emerging opportunities.”
Erika Rushton, leading delivery of LaunchPad, added: “We’re not looking for business plans, were looking for people who want to work as part of a growing community of entrepreneurs and adventurers who are trying things out, making things happen, delivering local benefit and building the future North Liverpool.”