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MediaCityUK launches Smart City Innovation Testbed to help businesses and people thrive in a post-pandemic world

Digital venture builder and investment specialists UP Ventures Group, in partnership with MediaCityUK and The Connected Places Catapult, have today announced a ground breaking Smart City accelerator programme. Focusing on people-centred technology, especially in the current health and economic climate, the ‘Smart City Innovation Testbed’ aims to find ground-breaking technology solutions that will positively improve the quality of life for people and businesses in a post pandemic world.

Europe’s largest, digital, tech and creative hub – MediaCityUK and The Connected Places Catapult – whose mission is to work to accelerate smarter living and travelling in and between the places of tomorrow, are backing the programme aimed at UK based start-ups and scale-ups who have market ready technology solutions that aspire to help people live, work, play and learn in new innovative ways.

The ‘Smart City Innovation Testbed’ offers an unrivalled opportunity for progressive businesses to explore the role of places in the future, including, but not limited to: how technology can enhance safety in existing and new building design and positively enhance future business models, as well as how places can evolve to encourage meaningful interaction and creativity both now and in the future.

Sustainability is absolutely key to applications and the announcement of the programme comes hot on the heels of MediaCityUK being recognised as having the highest cluster of net zero carbon buildings in the UK after a further six of its properties were third party verified against the UK Green Building Council’s 2019 definition.

The programme will take place from January 2021 and last 12 weeks; it will give successful candidates access to a unique testbed, including MediaCityUK’s world-leading technology infrastructure, and provide opportunities to pilot innovations within a real-life setting. As well as access to online learning and dynamic workshops, candidates will be supported by talented technologists, industry experts, dedicated coaches and investors drawn from UP’s international network.

UP Ventures Managing Partner, Steven Thomas, said “Our mission with this programme is to find and enable the technologies that can have a profoundly positive impact on citizens and the places that they live and work. Our team and partners are hugely passionate about technology and how it can help people and businesses thrive again in such difficult times

Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK said “Our world is rapidly evolving and by supporting an important accelerator programme such as this means we’re able to invest in the talent who, going forward, can make a positive difference to the way we lead our lives in a post COVID world. MediaCityUK is very much a living ‘Smart City’ laboratory where we will be the springboard for some of the greatest innovations of our time and we very much want these talented technologists to succeed and grow within the MediaCityUK community.

Jon Kirkpatrick, Chief Operating Officer at Connected Places Catapult said “We are excited to be taking part in this testbed programme and branching out further across the country to help SMEs and innovators bring their projects to fruition. This is a great opportunity to improve the livelihood of the nation with exciting technology solutions”.

The programme is fully funded and there is no equity exchange with any partner.

Applications are now open and will close on 23 October.

For more information and to submit an application go to

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