£3.5m Sheffield tech hub plan still on drawing board

Sheffield will be home to a �3.5m tech hub - but the plan is still on the drawing board 18 months after the money was announced
Sheffield will be home to a �3.5m tech hub - but the plan is still on the drawing board 18 months after the money was announced
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Plans for a £3.5million tech hub in Sheffield are still on the drawing board 18 months after being announced - with a deadline for expressions of interest on September 16 this year.

The funding was announced by the Government in March 2015 after a bid was submitted by a group of Sheffield tech entrepreneurs.

It was part of an £11m boost for former Chancellor George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse project and included similar schemes in Leeds and Manchester.

The plan is to create an incubator and start-up space for tech firms specialising in hardware, 3D printing and product design and be a home for projects including the Dotforge Accelerator.

Earlier this year, Sheffield City Council announced it had been offered the £3.5m for capital funding by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and would act as the accountable body for the scheme.

It launched a competitive bidding process with a deadline today. It is understood four applications are expected. A council spokeswoman said they would be asked to submit a final business case before a decision, set to be made in early 2017.

Deborah Egan, chair of a group called Sheffield Tech Hub, said they would be submitting a bid.

She said: “Sheffield has already got a great tech community and our board is keen to support its rapidly developing tech enterprises. We have been working closely with the local community to develop a facility to match their ambitions.

“Any profits we make will go straight back into the business.”

Leeds and Manchester are at the same stage with their schemes, she added.

Sheffield Tech Hub board includes former Master Cutler Neil McDonald, Laura Bennett of Tech North and pro-vice chancellors Roger Eccleston, of Sheffield University, and Prof Richard Jones, of Hallam.

In the original Budget announcement the Government said the Sheffield deal would secure a further £7.8m in private funding.

Earlier this week, Andy Ward, head of the Sheffield office of accountants PwC, said the scheme had attracted £13m in private funding.