We’ve been delighted to share some brilliant insights from key spokespeople across our region in the View from Here during another eventful year.
We thought we’d remind you of some of the thoughts, hopes and aspirations for the future from some of our distinguished commentators.
It was another year marked by the social and economic challenges of the pandemic, but the resilience and adaptability inherent in our region’s business community continued to shine through, together with a spirit of innovation which often turned challenge into opportunity.
“It was interesting to see that in the heat of the pandemic, so many businesses adjusted themselves and adapted their offer to take advantage of new opportunities, albeit unplanned for and through hugely challenging times. It really brought out the spirit of innovation which thrives in our region.” Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11 group of Northern LEPs
“The pandemic has both exacted a horrific human toll and transformed the way we live – the way we work, learn, access everything. We have all seen the benefits of digitalization and for the younger generation who have grown up with that, this is a huge opportunity. We have tremendous talent here and they are our future.” Delroy Beverley, Chairman of the Institute of Director’s Yorkshire and North East super region
“It has been an incredibly challenging year, but good things have come out of it which we must not lose sight of, not least a sense of community and spirit of true collaboration across our region. Our innovative manufacturers demonstrated how rapidly they could adapt during the pandemic – and many businesses in our region have developed products and services in response to global opportunities and to serve an international customer base.” Mark Goldstone, Head of Business, Representation and Policy at the West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
We’ve heard many times that “collaboration is very Leeds” and for our View from Here contributors, the value of community, collaboration and networks was a constantly recurring theme. We know, from our own experience, the power and value of collaboration and it’s great to see our region’s business community and wider networks working together to innovate and achieve incredible things.
“Our region is blessed with an incredibly strong network of businesses, entrepreneurs and academics who support each other, sharing knowledge, insights and resources. I’m continually inspired by the brilliant business and academic minds we have here and the real differences they can make to the twin challenges we face around health – how to live long and healthy lives – and climate – how not to wreck the planet.” Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds.
“We have a true business and academic community here and a very special ecosystem – competitors work side by side, collaborate and support each other, rather than working in isolation.” Sarah Tulip, Head of Digital Transformation at BJSS and Digital Ambassador for Leeds City Council.
“Collaboration between business and academia is critical to attracting the right talent, employers and inward investment to help drive that showcase and we have cracking universities in our region and some incredible people behind that collaboration.” Sharon Jandu, Founder of the Asian Business Association (YABA) and Project Director of Northern Asian Power (NAP)
“I was brought up outside of Chicago and my experience in Yorkshire and the North of England reminds me of my mid-west America roots, especially in terms of relationships. People want to build a relationship, invest time, and enjoy helping to open doors. As we face continued change, that strength in community is going to have continued resonance and reward.” Will Schaffer, Investment Manager with the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
“The power of networks should never be underestimated. Starting a business on your own can be isolating and you need support, advice and to be able to share your experience. Getting involved and being visible is also extremely important in terms of your profile with would-be investors. People buy people.” Zandra Moore, CEO of software development specialists Panintelligence.
We’ve been delighted to be able to share news of the many developments and successes of the Nexus community across the year, where the brightest minds and most inspiring business concepts have come together to bring about real impact, both to our economy and society. Our commentators returned time and again to the twin themes of building our regional economy and adding real societal value:
“We are well placed to take a lead on areas of business which are critical to the health and wellbeing and climate emergency agendas. Our region is renowned for its innovators and entrepreneurs and that will stand us in very good stead as we re-build our economy.” Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer Culture and Economy at Leeds City Council
“I have noticed a significant increase in success stories and case studies from the Northern Powerhouse Fund Managers over the last 12 months and all the funds are doing a sterling job of spreading the word via social media. We could all amplify the hard work I see happening in our ecosystems, by sharing the ideas, the achievements and the success stories not only across our networks, but across the UK and globally.” Melanie Ellyard, Senior Manager for Yorkshire, Humber and Tees Valley, UK Network for the British Business Bank
“It was great news to hear in the Chancellor’s Spending Review that £660 million has been added to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund for a second round of funding. We need to once again become an economy which contributes to the national wealth. We tipped into that net-contributing space just before the pandemic – we can do it again and in spades.” Sir Roger Marsh.
We continue to be inspired by the vision, creativity and ambition of our region’s business community and View from Here gave us some insightful reflections and aspirations for the future:
“Academics need the freedom and confidence to make bold, sometimes risky choices to push boundaries. We want to nurture new ideas and collaborations that spark something exciting and lead to transformative research; something nobody has done before and which makes a real difference to society.” Professor Nick Plant.
“I’m seeing a much greater focus from business owners on well-being – looking at what they really enjoy about running their business and how they can retain that, while growing and developing new products and services. Working from home and enjoying cleaner air and less busy roads has also increased focus on innovations which have societal and environmental benefits.” Steve Bennett, Founder and MD of the Business of Science Conference
“You should ask yourself that if everything ended right now, what you would want to be remembered for. I guarantee it will be around what you did for others and what you meant to them – not about any material or financial things you achieved. We are merely custodians of the nation’s memory and must choose carefully how we pass that on to the next generation.” Delroy Beverley.
Thank you to all our View from Here contributors across 2021 for your observations and thought-provoking insights.
The complexity of the emerging needs of society demand cross-disciplinary thinking and problem solving and universities and their tech-enabled innovation communities will continue to play a crucial role. A powerful magnet for collaboration, they bring together the brightest minds and most inspiring business concepts, which help founders turn their ideas into reality – benefiting the economy and society.
Read the features in full: