Leeds City Council is very pleased to sponsor the Leeds Digital Festival again for the fourth year. Leeds is home to nearly 3500 digital companies and 34,000 digital tech jobs and a digital GVA of £1.3bn – with a 30% growth over the past 5 years and a forecast growth of 5% a year.
The Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy 2017-2023 outlines our vision for Leeds as a digital city encouraging inclusive growth, in which we promote and grow the digital sector, make every business a digital business, develop a skilled and resilient workforce, strengthen digital and data infrastructure, increase digital inclusion and use technology to improve health outcomes and tackle health inequalities. Our recent ‘Leeds as a Digital City’ summit explored further how the strong digital ecosystem in Leeds can continue coming together to maximise digital for all businesses and people.
Leeds strengths include: –
- telecoms and broadcast (Telefonica and Vodafone have large presences here, Sky has its main European tech hub in the city),
- betting and gaming (Sky Bet have 1,000 working at their Leeds HQ, William Hill have a technology hub in the city),
- games development (Rockstar games plus many niche development companies)
- digital advertising and marketing (4 of the top 5 northern agencies)
- data science (Leeds-based Callcredit are the no 2 UK credit rating agency, Asda’s Leeds HQ handles Walmart’s global data analytics for 8 hours a day, and our health data credentials are stronger than any other UK city)
- Agile development (BJSS, one of Europe’s top 100 companies, are based here, as are specialists such as InfinityWorks, Alcient and many others)
- Health tech – NHS Digital (2,500 staff £1bn budget) is based in Leeds, as are TPP and EMIS (the two top providers of tech to GPs), Lhasa, mHealth and many others (22% of the UK’s health tech jobs are in Leeds)
With academic expertise in engineering, computer science and health informatics, the city’s universities have a strong offer and attract many of the UK’s top students. In LIDA (Leeds Institute for Data Analytics), we also have the UK government’s biggest single investment in data science.
Leeds also has a resilient infrastructure – IXLeeds, the city region’s internet exchange, links directly to Europe and the USA and has the capacity to route all the UK’s internet traffic, should London go down. Many data centres use this resilience to give their customers a competitive advantage.
Smart city technology is developing in Leeds and we want to be at the forefront of this technology. Electric car charge points, parking bay sensors, apps and autonomy will all shape the future of end to end journeys as well as benefiting the environment. We aim to continue promoting Leeds as a smart city that uses digital technology and data and the internet of things to help address challenges.
Last year saw the establishment of the Leeds Tech Hub, made up of space at Platform, Duke Studios, East Street Arts, and ODILeeds which will act as the front door to the city, providing new space for digital entrepreneurs and SMEs, and bring together established businesses and innovators with a strong business support programme. The Tech Hub will also raise awareness of Northern digital businesses’ successes and opportunities, especially with young people, students and graduates living in the region and potential investors.
Last October, Channel 4 announced that Leeds would be the new location of their new national headquarters, including a new Channel 4 Digital Creative Unit. This represents a huge success for the city with a successful pitch process led by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and Leeds City Council with cross-Council support from our local authority partners, as well as the support of Screen Yorkshire and the creative agencies via the “All in Leeds” initiative, the education sector and many others. This landmark decision is also a sign of confidence of the city and wider city region
And brings a chance to boost our economy, create more local jobs, and create opportunities for everyone.
The South Bank, Innovation District and HS2 developments in the changing city will offer further opportunities for growth in the digital sector and economy, providing many more jobs for all.
Councillor James Lewis, deputy council of Leeds City Council and executive board member for digital innovation said:
“It is fantastic to see the fourth Leeds Digital Festival and I’m looking forward to another great event which really celebrates this growing, thriving and ambitious sector in the city.”