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Ed Vaizey to announce three local Digital Catapult schemes in Sunderland, Brighton and Bradford to boost economy

Projects: The Digital Catapult is expanding

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey will announce the creation of three local ‘Digital Catapult’ projects at the launch of the London centre today.

The three projects in Sunderland, Brighton and Bradford will be led by local enterprise partnership (LEP) consortia and along with the London centre are aimed at boosting the UK’s digital economy through supporting entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers and corporate business with resources, expertise and space to showcase products and network.

The government estimates that the initiative will have invested £46m in projects to boost the economy by 2018 and return an economic benefit of £365m.

Vaizey will say: “It is an exciting time to be a tech business in the UK. Our digital economy is already one of the strongest markets in the world, valued at more than £100bn. Growth areas including the Internet of Things and digital creative industries are opening up a range of new opportunities for companies in the sector.”

The Digital Catapult is an initiative from Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board).

Innovate UK chief executive Iain Gray said: “The Digital Catapult centre is a state-of-the-art innovation facility that will provide the very best collaboration, showcase and laboratory space for digital companies large and small.

“Its opening is further evidence of the rapid progress that has been made in creating the Catapult network – world-class facilities are now fully operational for six Catapults across the country with the Future Cities Catapult’s centre due to open in the spring.

The three local centres will open in March 2015.

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