Leeds, historically a city that has not been characterised for its thriving technology sector, now sees a growing vibrant explosion of digital businesses across the region. As home to a host of innovative tech startups, scaleups and enterprises, the city is now the fastest growing tech hub in the north and boasts a digital sector that last year contributed £6.5 billion to the city region economy. With over 102,000 individuals employed by tech in the city, it is evident that Leeds’ encouragement of growth and prosperity in the tech sector is a success.
This is partly due to tech giants, like Sky Betting & Gaming and Channel 4, who have sought out the city as a location that is ideal for their wide-reaching goals. These big hitters seeing the huge potential in Leeds is a message of confidence that is well-founded and speaks to the whole sector, loud and clear that Leeds is the place to be.
The LEP manages to take this vote of confidence and transfer it into real growth by offering substantial grants for tech businesses. They help small businesses and private sector firms to grow by supplying support and finance, creating international links and paving the way for innovation, enterprise and new business investment. Additionally, the LEP focuses on delivering the infrastructure for growth, creating a skilled workforce and building a resource-smart city. This investment in the future ensures that the upward trajectory of the digital sector in Leeds will continue to rise.
And it’s important to mention the culture of supporting digital growth across the region, that’s epitomised by the Leeds Digital Festival. The Leeds Digital Festival is an open, collaborative festival celebrating digital culture in all its forms over a two-week period each spring. With topics ranging from fintech and coding to social media and AI, it’s a true celebration of tech, as well as a means to exploring new avenues, making new connections and marking the city’s brilliance.
This cycle – one that sees investment in the city encouraging more businesses to pursue bases in Leeds – is working successfully. This is evidenced by companies like Data Mill North, the Open Data Institute, and IXLeeds all finding a home in Leeds. Exciting companies like IXLeeds, the UK’s only fully independent internet exchange outside of London, exemplify the brilliance of the tech sector in Leeds and the attractiveness of being based in the north of the UK.
Leeds is relatively early on in its journey to becoming a giant of the technology sector, and yet, with the impressive leaps and bounds it continues to make, it’s evident that the city will continue to grow and attract more and more businesses from the digital sector. This trajectory is one we greatly look forward to being a part of, and are thrilled to see happening.
And that’s it