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Launch of MIT REAP-UK pilot programme, with six regions (March 2020)

In March, MIT launched a pilot in the UK of its global ‘Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme’ (REAP), aimed at helping UK regions with achieving greater productivity, employment and returns from research.  Supported by the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and by Loughborough University, the goal outlined at that first Workshop in London was to work closely with that first cohort of regions over an intense 6-month period, and to help them develop and start delivering local strategies.

Read the MIT REAP Press Release about the first Workshop here.

With the current COVID-19 crisis, the MIT REAP-UK programme  – and the six regions taking part in the pilot – have recognised the need to support these regions as they prepare for the ‘recovery’ stage.  MIT REAP-UK has therefore pivoted to an online format for the current ‘Action Phase’ (AP), with a slightly extended timeline, and a growing understanding of the importance of regional economic recovery, during this pilot and in the years to come.

The six regions in this MIT REAP-UK pilot (with further details below) are

  • Cumbria, Lancashire, and Cheshire & Warrington LEPs
  • Heart of the South West LEP
  • Leicester and Leicestershire LEP
  • North East LEP
  • Sheffield City Region LEP
  • West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)
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Goals and Objectives:

The goal of the MIT REAP-UK Initiative is to support regional teams of leaders representing Entrepreneurs, Risk Capital Providers, Corporates, Academia, and Governments in an evidence-based approach to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in each team’s local region. The initiative draws on the frameworks founded and established through the MIT REAP (Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme: https://reap.mit.edu) global program and translates them into the UK context with a cohort composed of entirely UK-based teams.

This pilot builds on MIT REAP’s experience with over 50 regions from around the world since its inception in 2012, (including UK-based teams from London, Scotland, Wales and currently Leeds City Region).  In collaboration with the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Loughborough University, MIT REAP seeks to deepen the collective efforts and community of practice of entrepreneurship and innovation through engaging the UK in this unique initiative. The benefit of MIT’s theoretical and practice-based expertise and regional leadership, focused on this new initiative to support productivity growth, is a defining factor in the delivery of the UK’s local Industrial Strategies.

Pilot Program Objectives:

  • To enable a cohort of UK regional teams to swiftly apply elements of the MIT REAP frameworks to initiatives in their regions
  • To customize frameworks to the UK setting and teams, while at the same time retaining the MIT REAP core frameworks, methods, and elements for success and focusing on insights that support local productivity growth and local Industrial Strategies
  • Apply the MIT REAP core frameworks to the UK’s objective of enhancing the productivity of small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs), including:
    • Applying a key approach to accelerating innovation ecosystems and its emphasis on how regions must build both entrepreneurial capacity (E-Cap) to start and grow businesses, and innovative capacity (I-Cap) to drive new ideas, adopt new technologies, and introduce these solutions into businesses
    • Understanding the role of innovation and technology in local productivity
    • Enabling better investment decisions at both local and national levels from comprehensive networks of stakeholders, including Entrepreneurs, Risk Capital Providers, Corporates, Academia, and Governments
  • To provide UK teams with the tools and insights needed to drive collective impact toward change, by:
    • Building consensus on their region’s unique assets, capabilities, and comparative advantages
    • Defining a strategy from MIT REAP frameworks that supports their regional local enterprise partnership (LEP)
    • Identifying (at least) one initial key strategic intervention for all regional stakeholders to collaborate on and drive forward
  • In partnership with BEIS and Loughborough University, to assess the outcomes and impact of UK teams’ strategic interventions on local business productivity growth.

Participating regions

Cumbria, Lancashire, and Cheshire & Warrington LEPs

Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) represent a coterminous North West Coastal Arc geography with common challenges and opportunities as evidenced in their Local Industrial Strategies (LIS’), Strategic Economic Plans (SEPs) and Science & Innovation Audits (SIAs).

They are part of the MIT REAP UK program to assist their partners with understanding their regional complementarity and equip them to implement a strategy at scale for transitioning to an innovative digital and low carbon economy.