FinTech North & Leeds City Council – Business Debt webinar reflections
julian / 25th June 2020
On Friday 12th June FinTech North hosted a webinar in partnership with Leeds City Council which focused on the topic of business debt / lending, and the role that FinTech can play in this critical area as the UK faces up to the challenges and opportunities of economic recovery.
After the event, Julian Wells reflected and recapped on the discussion with Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer, Economic Development at Leeds City Council. You can watch the discussion here or by clicking on the image below.
As has been the case for all Local Authorities, Leeds City Council has been implementing emergency measures to support the regional business community, including the FinTech sector, through the Covid-19 crisis. As at 12th June Leeds City Council has processed 11,537 grants worth over £142m to date. Of this, 9,818 were £10k grants to small businesses and worth more than £98m. Additionally, 1,802 grants of £25k have been issued to Retail Hospitality and Leisure businesses, totalling £45m. Its Discretionary Grant Scheme opened on 1 June and we have had over 600 applications to date.
Leeds City Council sees a critical role for digital and innovation, and is seeking to ensure it provides strong support to entrepreneurs. Over the last two years Leeds has been going through the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP), a global initiative designed to help regions around the world accelerate their economic growth and job creation through innovation-driven entrepreneurship.
Reflecting on recent weeks, Eve identified data as an area where the Council could benefit from the expertise of the digital and FinTech sectors. The organisation has a lot of data and wishes to make better use of it. It already has a number of existing relationships with expert partners and has various initiatives underway. Additionally, the requirement to process and advance funds against significant numbers of applications from businesses had highlighted this as an area when FinTech may be able to help.
FinTech North is grateful to Leeds City Council for its support through the Covid-19 pandemic.