We were delighted to share some brilliant insights from key spokespeople across our region in View from Here last year.
We thought we’d start the New Year with a reminder of some of those thoughts and aspirations for the future from our distinguished commentators.
Thank you to all our the view from here contributors across 2022 for your observations and thought-provoking insights, we’ve got some great interviews lined up for 2023 so keep your eyes peeled!
THE POWER OF THE LEEDS CITY REGION
Leeds and the wider City Region got top billing from our all our contributors as a dynamic centre for talent and innovation.
“Leeds is already home to some of the UK’s most exciting and powerful players in the emerging digital health sector. With a highly skilled workforce of 3 million people, a further 7 million people within an hour’s drive, and two world-class universities in close proximity – collectively we have an ever-growing pool of talent to fill this growing health and life sciences market. We can really be a champion for the North of England.” Dame Linda Pollard, Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
“We have one of the UK’s fastest growing digital sectors driving innovative solutions across different markets. The really exciting opportunities are where creative approaches to technologies are transforming the future of the region’s most established industries, for example remote healthcare, green finance, plant-based food manufacturing and recycling technologies for textiles.” Richelle Schuster, Head of Innovation Programmes at Leeds City Council and Regional Development Lead at West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
“Skills and talent are crucial to business success and as the University of Leeds’ innovation hub, Nexus brings invaluable access to top graduate talent in science, technology, IT and many other skills, with knowledge transfer partnerships benefiting many businesses as they scale and grow.” Hannah Kendrick, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs.
“We are increasingly seen as global leaders in the health tech and life sciences sector and the creation of our new children’s hospital will see Leeds providing the most advanced treatments, technologies and research in the world – another major step in our drive to be an Innovation Village and centre of excellence for healthcare. The University of Leeds is a magnet for overseas students, delivering a huge skills and talent pool for local businesses and Nexus provides a clear landing point for that vital collaboration.” Tom Riordan CBE, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council.
“Although recruitment is a challenge, the huge strength of our region’s universities means that there is a continuous pipeline of talented, clever and capable young people coming into the city, hopefully staying there, and bolstering our economy for the future.” Mark Casci, Head of Representation and Policy for West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
Our region’s place on the international stage was also reflected in many of the insights we were given.
“The world has shrunk in the past two years and a potential investor working from his or her bedroom in San Francisco can be looking intently at start-ups in Leeds, which fit their investment profile. We have huge potential to attract more investment here and drive international growth, but we must act as one region – the North – and communicate the strength of our combined offer.” Hannah Kendrick
“We’re creating a world leading hub with the Leeds Innovation District Partnership. It draws much of its inspiration from the brilliant academic talent at the University of Leeds and the success of the Nexus business community, which has proved just how much can be done by working in collaboration.” Dame Linda Pollard
“We’re rebuilding international relationships with cities and countries across the world and there are tremendous opportunities for Leeds and our wider city region. We’re determined to ensure that Team Leeds is at the forefront of every investment decision which helps businesses and communities across our region to thrive as we build for the future.” Tom Riordan CBE
INCLUSIVITY IS KEY
Our commentators also stressed the vital importance of ensuring that our region’s growth was inclusive and created benefits for society and the environment, as well as for the economy.
“When I left university some twenty years ago, the only questions you had at your job interview would be about salary. The conversation is completely different now: what is your company doing in the community? What is your environmental programme? What are you doing about social mobility? What are you doing within the region to make it a better place? This is about so much more than altruism – it’s an absolute imperative and business owners are very much aware of that.” Mark Casci
“Our report (Racial Diversity in Digital – Leeds) recommends a new narrative around racism. We need to acknowledge actions or systems that result in more negative outcomes for people based on their ethnic background – and work together to change them. I want Leeds City Region to be a place full of successful businesses, where every citizen has equal opportunity to fulfil their potential. What we do in tech can be replicated in finance, law and many other sectors.” Annette Joseph MBE, Founder, Speaker and Agile Coach, Diverse & Equal.
“COP 26 has focused many business leaders on initiating actions and setting clear targets to reduce their environmental impact and many innovation-led businesses in our region are addressing climate change with the research they are undertaking and the products and services they are developing. At the same time, quality of life has risen to the top of many people’s priority lists and this is where our region has a very distinct advantage as a great place to live and work. Our talent pool has always been strong and is growing stronger.” Hannah Kendrick
“It is vital that innovation is driven through the lens of inclusivity and as our Inclusive Growth Strategy explains, we’re committed to backing diverse innovators and entrepreneurs – particularly people with impactful ideas, but without the experience, connections, or funding to move forward. Fast track connections to experts and networks are critical to nurturing innovation and that is where our region’s exceptional universities and communities such as Nexus come into their own.” Richelle Schuster
“We have to direct our winning formula to address fundamental social issues and ensure inclusive growth. Reaching out to schools and communities with information about the huge opportunities which exist across our region, particularly in the health tech, digital and creatives sectors, is critical.
We’ve been delighted to be part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (MIT REAP), which has seen a strongly diverse range of entrepreneurs receive vital mentoring and support from local businesses – including from the Nexus community – as well as academic specialists and professional advisers.” Tom Riordan
The overarching power and value of community and collaboration was once again a key theme running across every one of our View from Here conversations and will, we’re sure, continue to be a focus this year and beyond.
“Nexus has really captured people’s attention and not only because of the striking building. It is a great environment and a real hotbed of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. It straddles the worlds of education and business and having a line of dialogue with the team and community brings huge benefits to our region.” Mark Casci
“It is about much more than the academic networks – these communities connect like-minded businesses and experts in their field and help them tap into the wider international support and expertise required to scale and grow. For investors, these communities instil confidence, demonstrating how serious we are as a region in supporting innovation-led business and providing them with a home for success.” Richelle Schuster
“We were extremely grateful to Nexus and our other sponsors for their support for our research (Racial Diversity in Digital – Leeds). The Nexus community and its wider networks can play an invaluable role in continuing the conversation, changing the narrative and facilitating real change.” Annette Joseph
“It’s been fascinating to watch the growth of the Nexus business community – now celebrating its 100-member milestone – and a privilege to work with many of them on some incredible business concepts and models. Shared experience and best practice are fundamental to that community.” Hannah Kendrick
“There is a distinct Team Leeds ethic in our business community and a willingness to share expertise and best practice, which is really refreshing. Local businesses are continuing to support the BUILD programme, providing vital advice and mentoring for start-ups and the ide@ community which is helping aspiring business owners achieve their ambitions.” Tom Riordan
“It is collaboration that is the key to all this. We’re all really good at doing things in our own right, but when we come together, we are so much greater than the sum of our parts. In partnership the voice is louder, the skillset bigger. It’s when we work together that the magic happens.” Dame Linda Pollard
Read the features in full:
The View from Here – Richelle Schuster
In our latest The View from Here, we spoke to Richelle Schuster, Head of Innovation Programmes at Leeds City Council and Regional Development Lead at West Yorkshire Combined Authority, about future opportunities and tomorrow’s innovation leaders in our region.