Libra Careers provides expert training and mentorsh and matches the UK’s most talented graduates with the world’s most innovative, fast-growth StartUps. They have offered limited slots to LWIN members to pitch their brand to candidates.

Libra Careers recruit candidates from top universities who are looking for opportunities in fast growth start-ups. Candidates learn from industry experts and business coaches on their start-up programme. Mentors work 1-2-1 with their new employees for 6 months, to accelerate induction and reduce bedding-in time.

They are holding a careers panel on the 12th of May and they have two slots remaining, which they have offered to LWIN members. Reach out to if you are an LWIN member and would like to book a slot, or for further details.

London West Innovation Network (LWIN) has launched the Heathrow Portal, in collaboration with Heathrow, for innovative and high-growth SMEs to engage with the UK’s only international hub airport. Heathrow is a longstanding member of West London Business, and a board member of London West Innovation Network.

The new Heathrow Portal is available now and contains a wealth of information from doing business with the airport and gaining insights into future strategies to simply planning your journey.

Some of the recently opened opportunities at Heathrow include the Lift Off, a new concept developed as an additional way for Heathrow to attract and work with Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to be a part of their partner supply chain organisations. Competefor is a free supplier platform that enables businesses to compete for contract opportunities linked to large-scale public and private buying organisations.

You can use the portal to:

  • Register your interest in the Heathrow’s new programmes like Lift Off and Competefor
  • Find out more about the annual Heathrow Business Summit and register to attend
  • Get access to Heathrow Careers and discover upcoming job fairs and aviation careers guidance
  • Read strategic documents around Heathrow’s future including the Heathrow 2.0 Sustainability Startegy
  • Plan your journey to Heathrow from anywhere in the UK

Amelia Grant, Head of LWIN Membership, said of the new portal:

“When Heathrow approached us wanting to support LWIN Members in how to engage with the airport and its major suppliers, we jumped at the chance. The LWIN Heathrow Portal provides a one-stop-shop for our members to see all that is on offer from Heathrow in one place. The portal not only provides helpful information and facts, but also actionable opportunities for our innovative SMEs to develop a relationship with a view to becoming part of Heathrow’s supply chain.”

Leeds Innovation District, a member of UK innovation District Group, is all set to host Climb23: the UK’s new festival of innovation, industry and investment. On 23rd-24th May a gathering of 3000 will assemble at Leeds dock to create an event like nothing the UK has seen before. On 23rd-24th May a gathering of 3000 will assemble at Leeds dock to create an event like nothing the UK has seen before.

The Leeds Innovation District or the Leeds Innovation Arc brings together the Leeds NHS Trust, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council in an ambitious partnership to create a hub of innovation right in the centre of Leeds. It provides a base for entrepreneurs, start-up and scale-up companies to mix with established hi-tech businesses and tap into the expertise of world class education institutions, to create innovative new products and services.

Investor Ladder is bringing the international innovation and investment
ecosystem together to look at the global challenges and opportunities through the next five years. They will be connecting investors, showcasing businesses, industry leaders and international ecosystems from multiple sectors in an informal, festival style symposium.

The event will feature international speakers, round table discussions and amazing showcases, all centered around high-quality networking, great food, and a celebratory atmosphere. Check out the agenda here.

Following the successful launch of Lift Off in March, Heathrow’s procurement team is calling for applications from innovative SME’s for the next Lift Off event, which will take place end of June. Register your interest by Friday 28 April – 5.30pm

Heathrow’s Lift Off is a new concept as an additional way to attract and work with Small to Medium EnterprisesLift Off will provide the opportunity for selected innovative SMEs to present their products and services to a panel made up of Heathrow and their largest supply chain partner organisations. The first ever Lift Off event took place on Monday 13 March at the Compass Centre. The event focussed on the theme of sustainability for SMEs who applied through Heathrow’s recently launched CompeteFor platform. The events will run on a quarterly basis focused around chosen themes that differ at each event throughout the year.

CompeteFor is Heathrow’s chosen supply chain opportunities platformThe platform advertises opportunities from Heathrow and their wider supply chain. It is also used by other national organisations and governmental departments to advertise tenders. All organisations wishing to participate in Lift Off are required to complete registration on the CompeteFor platform. You can expect initial registration to take around 30 minutes.

If you have a focus on innovation which could benefit Heathrow’s focus on passenger experience then register your interest via CompeteFor by Friday 28 April – 5.30pm. Once you have registered, or if your organisation already has a CompeteFor profile, you can login and select the Lift Off Event Q2 2023 opportunity.

If you would like to revisit the March Lift Off event and find out more about the Lift Off panel and participating SMEs, you can read the March information brochure. To view the full range of current Heathrow procurement opportunities, visit 

Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, has announced its new Business Support Partners (BSPs) – three national partners and a number of regional support partners. The new appointments will work with the Start Up Loans programme to deliver funding and support for small businesses across the UK over the next two years.

The Start Up Loans Company provides personal fixed-interest loans and support to aspiring and early-stage business owners from across the UK who might be struggling to access other forms of finance. The programme supports employment, enables economic growth and has a transformational impact on the lives of thousands of people. The scheme has a 10-year old legacy of delivering funding at a fixed interest rate of 6% and mentoring to recipients in their first year. Since inception, the scheme has delivered over 100,000 loans worth more than £960 million to business and its delivery partners (now renamed as Business Support Partners) have always been critical to its success.

When you apply for a Start Up Loan, they assign you to one of their business support partners. Where possible, they try to match you with a business support partner that operates in your local area. The business support partner will pair you with a business adviser who will help you move things forward and be your key point of contact throughout the process. Their business support partners operate in various regions and industries across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and they work closely with them to ensure that responsible lending decisions are made.

The new national BSPs will support businesses across the UK and target specific demographics traditionally in need of additional support. They are a network of leading business support organisations with the expertise to help our customers secure a loan to start or grow their business. Some of them include:

  • GC Business Finance: A responsible lender with a proven track record in providing alternative finance products to support growing businesses achieve their goals. To date it has loaned in excess of £150m and supported over 30,000 growing businesses throughout the UK.
  • X-Forces Enterprise: A specialist organisation that helps members of the Armed Forces and Emergency Service communities, including their family members, nurture their entrepreneurial ambition, secure funding and make their business plans a reality.
  • The Prince’s Trust: A youth charity that helps young people aged 13 to 30. Its Enterprise programme helps turn young people’s big ideas into fully fledged businesses. It has helped over 90,000 young people to start their own business.

To make sure you are supported effectively, you will only be able to work with one business support partner and you won’t be able to change this once you’ve submitted your application: Business Support Partners, Specialist Partners or Post Loan Support. Learn more here.


Do you work in fintech and want to know more about regulation? Sign up to meet the Financial Conduct Authority for an interactive session on innovation pathways, the Regulatory Sandbox, followed by networking opportunities. The event is free for all and claim your spot today.


London & Partners is the business growth and destination agency for London with a mission to create resilient, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Their mission focuses on High-growth sectors, supporting international and domestic businesses in high-growth sectors to scale through investment, trade, growth and innovation programs, visitor economy, attracting visitors and events, and developing London as a world-class destination. They also support partnership and ventures, creating partnerships and profit-making ventres to reinvest into our economic growth activity. Their work helps achieve ‘good growth’ for London and Londoners, as outlines in The Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy for London

They are organising an exclusive London & Partners Meet the Corporate event with the Financial Conduct Authority: the conduct regulator for 50,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK, and the prudential supervisor for 48,000 of those firms.

Alongside representatives from the FCA, they will explore the Innovation Hub and FCA’s firm facing services. They will also discuss getting authorised and common mistakes firms make as well as what to expect once you are regulated.

The event will be of interest to fintechs, financial services start-ups and the firms that invest in them. It will also be especially relevant to anyone who is developing something innovative in financial services and may or may not be applying for authorisation in the future. Register here.

This Innovation Exchange challenge, delivered by Innovate UK KTN through the Global Alliance Africa project, is supporting Kenya Airways to identify innovative solutions for airport navigation via the metaverse. They would like to harness the opportunities that next generational technologies provide to improve accessibility for all travellers to navigate the complex logistics of airports.

Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 42 destinations worldwide, 35 of which are in Africa. It carries over four million passengers annually and in 2020, was named Africa’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards.

The company continues to modernize its fleet with its 32 aircraft being some of the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft. Kenya Airways services London, Amsterdam, Guangzhou, Sharjah, Mumbai and over 25 intra-Africa routes within its passenger network.

Kenya Airways takes pride in being at the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Kenya Airways is interested in the ways next generational technologies could assist all their passengers to navigate the complex logistics of airports. They welcome ideas for innovative web, app, UI, AR, VR, XR applications that may assist elderly, anxious, less literate and disabled travellers. Mobile phone capability is envisaged for customer accessibility, possibly alongside other platforms and devices. Solutions are invited from, but not limited to, the following sectors:

  • Travel logistics
  • Data capture
  • Software development
  • Gaming
  • Hardware
  • Design
  • Assistive technology
Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to Kenya Airways. The winning applicant, as selected by Kenya Airways, will get the opportunity to collaborate with them on a trial project. Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding is available (subject to T&Cs) to the successful finalist/s for this collaboration.
Rewards and Benefits
  • Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding (Subject to T&C)
  • Opportunity to pitch your solution to Kenya Airways
  • Collaboration/partnership with Kenya Airways
  • Technical support from Kenya Airways team
  • Mentorship programme facilitated by KTN
  • Sector expertise from KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Application support for any Innovate UK or similar competitions that are relevant.

Eligibility & Assessment Criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • Africa-based entrants, UK-based entrants and those from RoW are invited to apply

Due Diligence requirements for seed funding:

  • UK applicants must ensure that receiving the £25k seed funding will not exceed the £315,000* state aid threshold under UK Minimal Financial Assistance regulations over the current and last 2 fiscal years [or *200,000 euros for applicants affected by EC de minimis regulations]
  • Further information will be required later relating to company policies, financial history and recent grant funding received.

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Suitability for the Kenyan Market

Read more and Register here or more details on the challenge and application process, please register for the Information Session/Q&A here: Session – 9am BST on Tuesday, 4th April 2023 (1.5 hrs) – this will be recorded if you are unable to attend.

Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency, supports business-led innovation in all sectors, technologies and UK regions. They help businesses grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services. They have announced a list of their current funding opportunities targeting UK registered businesses, Small and Medium enterprises, research communities and local authorities. Please check individual competition dates as they may have been extended.

Future Economy Investor Partnerships for SME’s: round 1

UK registered businesses can apply for funding of up to £2 million alongside private investment from selected investor partners.

Innovate UK smart grants: 2023

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million for game-changing and commercially viable research and development (R&D) innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.

Automotive Transformation Fund: scale up readiness validation

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £11 million, to validate readiness for scale up of manufacturing processes in the automotive supply chain of net zero technologies.

V2X Innovation Programme: bi-directional charging demonstrations

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £9.4 million, for small scale demonstrations of novel vehicle to everything (V2X) energy technology providing storage and flexible services.

Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2023 to 2024: round 2

UK registered academic institutions, research and technology organisations or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £9 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not for profits.

Cyber security academic startup accelerator programme: phase one

Individuals based in a UK academic institution can apply for a share of up to £800,000 to join the cyber security academic startup accelerator programme.

Digital Dairy Chain: collaborative R&D and growth

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £2 million for business focused collaborative research and development innovation in advanced and high value dairy production and manufacturing.

Resource efficiency for materials and manufacturing

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £12 million for ambitious collaborative research and development projects to support UK materials and manufacturing organisations

NATEP helping SMEs innovate in aerospace: spring 2023

UK registered small and medium-sized enterprises can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million for industrial-led civil aerospace collaborative research and development projects.

UK-Switzerland bilateral: collaborative research and development

UK registered organisations, in collaboration with at least one Swiss registered business, can apply for a share of up to £2 million for research projects resulting in innovative solutions.

ZEVI: alternative fuel vessels and refuelling infrastructure

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £77 million. The funding will be to develop, deploy and operate clean maritime solutions for 3 years in a real world environment.

Energy catalyst round 10: early-stage

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £10 million in total across the 3 stages. Organisations can create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions.

Hydrogen storage and distribution supply chain collaborative R&D

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £4.35 million for collaborative research and development (R&D) projects related to hydrogen storage and distribution supply chain.

Farming Innovation Programme large R&D partnerships: round 2

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £8 million for large research and development (R&D) partnership projects.

Future Leaders Fellowships: round 8

Early career researchers and innovators based at eligible academic or non-academic institutions, can apply for a share of up to £100 million for funding to support research or innovation programmes.

Novel, low-emission food production systems: industrial research

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £16 million to deliver resource efficient, low-emission food production systems.

Please visit Innovate UK New Funding Opportunities to know more and for further details. Also visit the Innovate UK website to explore the different forms of support, resources and funding available for business innovation.