The London West Innovation Network (LWIN) traces its roots back to the Blue Skies Conference 2020, which the team convened. The Conference came together with the support of high-level stakeholders and key influencers in the private, public, academic sectors and civil society. The Autumn 2020 policy statement captures the original ambition and intent, with over 250 delegates attending the half day summit on Zoom.
The context was one of the pandemic bringing devastation to jobs and businesses in the aviation and related logistics sector in West London and beyond. We were also faced with accelerated technological disruption and a climate emergency. A zero carbon rebuild of our local economy required new thinking and ambition.
The emerging initiative, initially called London West Innovation District, also aligned to the shared goals of the West London Alliance Build and Recovery Strategy for sustainable green growth – reskilling and upskilling local workforce, driving diversification, transformation logistics and ensuring sustainable aviation recovery.
In Spring 2021 we convened the Innovation District Roundtable – March 2021. This provided an opportunity for us to continue the dialogue with key stakeholders and put a spotlight on:
In Autumn 2021-22 LWIN developed further with seed funding from London Boroughs of Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow. We delivered the Innovation funds for Ealing and Hillingdon boroughs, targeting innovative businesses that had the potential to boost economic growth and job creation.
This also marked a turning point in the development of LWIN as we broadened out our focus from aviation & logistics to all fast growth, innovative businesses across the geography.
In Autumn 2022 LWIN joined the UK Innovation Districts Group, the UK umbrella for Innovation Districts. We also formalised our legal structure as an unincorporated association and appointed our first Project Coordinator.
LWIN is now focussed on securing long-term development funding and mobilising a business support programme for fast growth businesses across the geography with our partners.