- Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies
Entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in general are considered to be the future backbone of the Leeds City Region’s local economy, with nearly 5,000 start-ups having been created in Leeds during 2016, and some forecasters considering the Leeds City Region as the power hub for scale-ups and start-ups in the future.
The financial crisis in 2008 and the austerity economic choices implemented by the UK government after 2010 had a dramatic effect on cities in the North. As a result, such cities are lagging behind in terms of productivity and the necessary infrastructure investment, particularly when compared to London.
Entrepreneurship and independent small businesses have a role to play in countering the havoc wreaked by economic turbulence within the local community. Entrepreneurship stems from the unlimited possibilities of creating innovative products or services, generating the necessary investments, attracting young talents and creating the most needed job opportunities within the Leeds City Region, which will ultimately boost the productivity levels within the region and create a more resilient economy.
The current industrial strategy led by the central government and Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy shed light on the importance of increasing the productivity level within the northern region. However, looking at the current figures, productivity and low-paid jobs will increase after Brexit.
As a result, Leeds City Council is currently working with different partners across the city to address various challenges to boost the local economy and create good jobs for local citizens. In addition, there is work on creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage start-ups and scale-ups to attract more talents and investment within the city.
Driven by my on-going research investigating the role of the public sector in supporting early stage entrepreneurs within the Leeds City Region, and building on The Future of Inclusive Growth event that was held in October 2018 where the key pillars to building a more inclusive economy were discussed, I am hosting an Entrepreneurship and Economic Resilience workshop. This is being organised with Leeds City Council, Leeds Social Sciences Institute, Ad:Venture Leeds City Region Ad:Venture Programme, Leeds Digital Festival and NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator.
The free-to-attend workshop will take place on Thursday 2 May, 6-8pm, at NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator in Leeds. It aims to address the following questions: What are the current funding opportunities available for start-ups and scale-ups in digital sector within the Leeds City Region? What is missing in the funding network within the Leeds City Region? How we can address this gap?
This workshop invites different representatives from the start-up community, local governments and the private sector (for example, funders and incubator managers) to come together to address these questions. The discussions in this workshop will be based on different mapping exercises that will aim to answer these vital questions in order to overcome the perils and risks of not having the necessary funding in place.
The importance of this workshop stems from the fact that availability of investment is considered to be the bedrock for building an entrepreneurial local economy, which will be even more important after Brexit. To register your place, visit the event page.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the views of Leeds University business school or the University of Leeds.