EXPERTS in the field of innovation have been brought together at a free event in Skipton next week to guide and support businesses with the development of new products, processes or services.

Businesses from across Craven are being invited to meet experts from the SparkFund, Innovate UK EDGE and the Leeds City Region Supply Chain Programme at a special innovation seminar to be held from 8.30am until noon on Wednesday, June 29 at Hotel Rendezvous, in Skipton.

Organised by Craven District Council, the seminar will cover the benefits and opportunities that innovation can deliver from helping to improve efficiency, reach new markets, increase revenue, develop new products or achieving a competitive edge.

The event will include examples of how other businesses have successfully developed and introduced a new idea, together with details of how to lever in government funding or tax offsetting to fund the delivery of innovation projects.

The SparkFund has helped more than 200 businesses across the region on a variety of projects that have helped increase sales and expand profit margins.

Helen Floyd, SparkFund grants manager, said: “We provide the financial spark to new ideas presented to us by our region’s businesses. We can refer them to teams of experts to help identify the path from an idea to a new product or service and then we help them build an application to apply for grants of up to £100,000.”

The SparkFund, which is funded until March 2023 by the European Regional Development Fund has recently issued a final call for funding applications. Businesses will be able to express an interest by making an application on the day.

Andy Taylor, who leads the Innovate UK EDGE team working with ambitious, innovation-led businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber to address the challenges of bringing new products and services to market, will also be at the event.

He said: “Eligible companies who engage with us receive coaching from a team of Innovation Specialists who are familiar with the strategies, partnerships and the business support available to accelerate growth. It all starts with a conversation”.

Rob Woollin, the Leeds City Region supply chain programme advisor added: “While businesses around the country are under huge pressure due to spiralling costs and unfilled vacancies, it is those that look to change or bring in new ideas and ways of working that will emerge stronger.

"The Supply Chain Programme for the Leeds City Region, which also covers Craven, works to link small businesses to the resources and expertise contained within universities and other centres of excellence. This can enable firms with a lack of funding, but a wealth of ideas to make the same changes that larger companies are seen to carry out.”

There will be opportunities to speak to Helen, Andy and Rob on a one-to-one and confidential basis on the day. Businesses who would like to have a one-to-one consultation are asked to register when booking their place at the seminar by going to

The event is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the council’s £3.4million Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre project to provide businesses with access to new workspace and business support to help them create new job opportunities, improve performance and raise productivity.

Cllr Simon Myers, lead member for Enterprising Craven, said: “Working as an enabler, we want to ensure that the many great businesses that we have in our district have access to the range of expertise that is currently available to help them develop their ideas and put into practice.”

Attendance at the event is free with priority given to Craven businesses. For more details about help to Craven businesses, contact the council's rural business development officer, Stefan Sykes on 07510 382 691 or emailing