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Encouraging Interest in the Cardiff Capital Region’s Challenge Fund

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The Cardiff Capital Region is transforming the economy, business landscape and potential for inclusive prosperity across the most populous region of Wales. 

At the heart of the CCR’s work sits the City Deal, a collaborative programme committed to being the catalyst for regional growth and sustainable success, through astute investment, ambitious upskilling and next generation connectivity.

With Challenge-Fund funding now closed for the Cardiff Capital Region, Gareth Browning chats to Business News Wales.

Regarding the funding, Gareth said:

“We’ve had a fantastic level of engagement from a broad range of public sector bodies across the region.

We’ve got a real mix of interesting innovation challenges with proposals coming from health boards, local authorities and housing associations. We’ve got quite a broad span of challenges coming through!”

The CCR £10m Challenge Fund is aimed at re-building local wealth through bringing innovative solutions to tackling some of the CCR’s most urgent societal problems.

Working in partnership with Cardiff University and YLab, the fund will invite public sector bodies to develop challenges and connect with organisations that are able to provide innovative solutions to the challenges identified. This approach aims to draw on the region’s creativity and ingenuity and bring together the public and private sector in order to deliver novel solutions, where no commercial solution currently exists, and to provide a route to market for the solution.

Three priority themes have been identified. The first is accelerating decarbonisation – specifically, in relation to improving air quality, and transport. The second is improving the health and wellbeing of the region’s citizens, looking at issues such as food and health, and food security. The third is supporting, enhancing and transforming communities, with a focus on town centres, high streets and rural communities.

While these are all long-term problems public sector bodies would grapple with, their urgency has intensified following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For example, local and national restrictions have raised new questions about how we organise our transport and improve air quality. They have also increased the need to find new solutions to help our struggling high streets and town centres, which have been faced with economic downturn.

Gareth has said that although the Challenge Fund response is in the early stages, the level of interest has been encouraging.