18 signs the Leeds City Region’s digital sector is the UK’s one to watch 

Here’s why this region is the one to watch when it comes to tech hubs around the UK.

16 December 2019

The digital sector in Leeds is growing at an exciting pace, with more startups, scaleups, co-working spaces, events, meetups, accelerators, community platforms, diversity and inclusion initiatives, VC investment and startup support than ever before.

But the region’s authorities aren’t plumping for growth for growth’s sake. They’re planning for growth that transforms people’s lives with tech, making this region fairly unique when it comes to economic growth plans.

Here’s why this region is the one to watch when it comes to tech hubs around the UK.

The Leeds City Region’s digital sector has:

  1. 209 scale ups attracting £108.8 million in venture capital, the most in the North of England by 82 per cent, according to Beauhurst’s Scale Up Index 2018  
  2. A digital economy that’s now worth £6.5bn
  3. An average business launch cost that’s 80% lower than London
  4. A digital festival that’s grown to become the biggest digital sector event of its kind in the UK outside London Tech Week and spawned countless new groups, meetups, initiatives and collaborations across the region
  5. More than 50 digital tech meetups in Leeds alone
  6. 19 co-working spaces and counting
  7. 10 finance and investment support organisations
  8. 4 startup support and skills providers
  9. 3+ accelerators, with the Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator, PwC Scale Yorkshire and numerous programmes by Tech Nation
  10.  An annual talent pipeline of 39,000 graduates of which 18,000 are in STEAM subjects
  11.  A superior quality of life that means staff are happy and stay in their roles
  12.  A city council that was crowned Digital Council of the Year at the national 2019 Digital Leaders 100 awards for its work to improve digital tools, technology and inclusion in the city 
  13.  The highest number of data scientists outside London
  14.  Numerous accolades for being the best place in the UK to start a business. Recent research by Bark found Leeds to be the best city in the UK to start a business, while the Barclays SME Growth Factors Index found Bradford to be the best place to start a business 
  15.  New digital groups, ecosystems and events popping up across the region such as the forthcoming Halifax Digital Festival, Wuthering Bytes in Hebden Bridge, Harrogate Digital, and Cognitiv in Wakefield 
  16.  A strategic focus by the region’s authorities on ‘transforming lives with tech’. “We want growth to benefit everyone who lives in our region and for lives to be transformed by technology,” explained Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
  17.  A leading edge on smart city initiatives. It was the only location from the UK to exhibit at the Smart City Expo World Congress in November 2019
  18.  A number of universities leading the charge with pioneering research in smart cities and tech for good including The University of Leeds with its smart city transport research, The University of York on safe autonomous technology, The University of Bradford on smart waste management, parking and flood warning solutions, Leeds Beckett University’s smart living, crowd control and citizen management, and The University of Huddersfield’s research at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.


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