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Indielab marches on in Leeds

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, posing with an Indielab clapperboard

Indielab, the accelerator scheme for UK-based independent producers, is setting up a new initiative focusing on the county of West Yorkshire in the north of England.

Launched in partnership with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Indielab West Yorks: The Creative Catalyst Accelerator will aim to support the local screen production industry and boost growth in the region.

The bespoke accelerator programme will include two strands, one for TV and one for gaming, and will be delivered by Indielab.

The expected outcomes and impacts of the programme include employment and turnover increases, new commissions and new distribution deals.

The programme curriculum will include masterclasses, seminars and workshops on growth planning, the global market, evolving business models, creative leadership, investment readiness and a range of key business-growth skills.

It will also aim to give companies high-level contacts, knowledge and skills to transform their businesses and accelerate their growth as the sector looks to continue to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic.

The programme has a budget of £1.5m (US$2m) and has been developed to overcome the barriers to growth for creative businesses in the Leeds city region.

Indielab programme director Victoria Powell

A recent report by Spilsbury Research found that the production sector in West Yorkshire is well established, with “excellent potential” for growth, and would be enhanced by a catalyst in place “to help develop that critical mass.”

This follows the arrival of UK broadcaster Channel 4’s headquarters in Leeds, while the BBC recently announced that two news teams will be relocated to the city. Last year the LEP delivered the Indie TV & Film Development Fund in partnership with Screen Yorkshire, which enabled content development to continue during the pandemic.

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “After working in the cultural industries for over three decades, I understand the power of the sector to create jobs and skills and power regeneration.

“The accelerator is extremely welcome and chimes with my pledge to lead a creative new deal. This scheme gives us the power to give businesses a much-needed boost, which will not only help our economic recovery but will create more jobs, drive the retention of talent in the region and provide young people from all backgrounds with new career opportunities.”

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, chairman of the LEP and NP11, added: “The accelerator forms just one aspect of our wider commitment as a partner to the creative industries and is something we’ve been developing for some time now. The sector is strong in our region and we know there is immeasurable potential for growth with the talented professionals that live and work here.”

Victoria Powell, Indielab’s programme director, said: “We’re excited to work with the LEP to deliver this programme of support to enrich the sector across West Yorkshire. Together, our combined knowledge and expertise of both the sector and the region will create an optimum partnership.”

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