Could Leeds become the UK’s tech capital?
Leeds, and the surrounding region, is fast becoming the tech capital of the North. Recent investment in infrastructure and big business moving in has given a much welcome boost to job creation.
If fact, digital jobs in the Leeds city region are set to grow at 10 times the rate of non-digital jobs.
Back in the early days of the internet Leeds was at the forefront with companies like Freeserve established in the region. In recent years, corporate giants such as Sky have selected the city as the location for their entire technical operations. It also provides the backbone of the NHS’ data systems and a high concentration of medical tech companies, sparked by the university’s medical technologies faculty.
As well as being a base for some of the UK’s largest banks, Leeds has also been investing heavily in its start-up community over the past couple of years.
Tech co-working spaces have popped up in older buildings such as the former home of Yorkshire Post. These co-working tech hubs foster innovation and collaboration between start-ups, giving rise to networks such as Tech North and Futurelabs – which has recently opened its doors thanks to a boost in government funding.
As the only city in the UK which has declared internet independence from London, because of the existence of its own internet exchange, Leeds is a key strategic growth area for businesses in the North.
It is also attractive from a people perspective; easily commutable and with great transport links to London, with a low cost of living and the beautiful Yorkshire countryside on your doorstep.
The city’s University is ranked in the UK’s top 20 in the UK. It turns out keen young graduates who are driving productivity back into the local area in more non-traditional roles, moving away from manufacturing and towards digital led professions. In fact, the digital sector employs 70,000 people in the Leeds City Region and that figure is only set to grow.
The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) helps small and medium sized businesses in Leeds and the surrounding area to develop and grow.