Inclusive Growth Partnership Update

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Inclusive Growth Partnership header with the logo of a capital G for growth and black and white images of iconic buildings in Leeds along with people


February 2024

Dear Inclusive Growth Partnership

Thank you to those who attended our Inclusive Growth event on Friday 26th January at the Royal Armouries. The blog post below provides a summary of the morning, and we look forward to seeing you at our next event in the summer. 

Inclusive Growth January event

Leeds - productivity and confidence in the city

Coming together for the first time since the launch of the Inclusive Growth Strategy in 2023, the Partnership descended on the Royal Armouries to talk productivity and innovation. 

A packed audience listened to Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council and leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr James Lewis reaffirm that Leeds, although facing challenging times, will be able to use 2024 as a year for transition as we look to more stability and exciting things to come. The resilience of the city is fantastic, and is the reason Leeds is where it is today. People want to see and hear more about what is happening and how we are achieving it. From billions of private investment already secured (£4billion), and more to come (£7billion), as well as £750 million spent on important infrastructure such as flood defences and major highways programmes,  they reminded delegates that Team Leeds needs to remain confident about making the argument that investing in the city means large gains in our wider region, but also importantly for the rest of the country. 

They touched on the exciting plans to come from a regeneration perspective in the city, with announcements around levelling up and further news on the West Yorkshire Investment Zone, and of course the much talked about plans for Mass Transit across the region.  

Panel discussion 

The morning then moved to the first panel, around stimulating innovation for a healthier, greener and more inclusive future. The panel brought together voices, from the public and private sector, including entrepreneur, Maddie Julian who founded Digibete after her young child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes before turning 1 and Gavin Meadows who heads up DePuy Synthes, the Orthopaedics Company of Johnson & Johnson who have located in Leeds and make a conscious effort to recruit, buy and test locally. Felix Kumi-Ampofo from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority joined them with Cllr Lewis and Tom Riordan bringing in thoughts on questions from the delegates.  

The panel touched on opportunities that will come up in 2024, and how we as a city can capitalise on these moments to make connections that might not otherwise be made. One of the key strengths for Leeds is its ability to collaborate across all sectors to deliver on significant projects – this sets us apart as we have a proven track record. There is a real role for the private sector in the future of the city, such as initiatives like One for the City and work with the Business Anchors Network which has recently launched to complement and work with the Leeds Anchor Network. 

Breakout sessions 

Heading into the breakout sessions, there was plenty to talk about from valuing, protecting and growing our culture, helping business and organisations to become more productive, and backing diverse innovators and entrepreneurs as well as innovation in a health context.  

The hosts, Royal Armouries and their CEO Nat Edwards took delegates through their exciting plans for redevelopment in the future, how they will achieve their visions, and how they can work with partners and businesses across the city to bring together a cohesive approach that benefits not just Leeds Dock and the south of the city – but the wider city and communities.  

In the second session, Partnership Director Kate Lodge introduced the work of Leeds Academic Health Partnership and newly launched brand Health Innovation Leeds. Delegates learned about how this is raising the profile of health and care research and innovation in Leeds, which has a high concentration of the UK’s digital health jobs, an integrated health and care system and is a top city for business start-ups, and discussed opportunities for further growth. 

Another session focused on using data to identify challenges and opportunities around inclusivity for businesses and entrepreneurs. Delegates heard from Zandra Moore, Co-Founder/CEO Panintelligence and Alex Craven, Co-Founder/CEO, The Data City about the challenges female entrepreneurs are faced with from the start of their journey – from funding, to representation through to prohibition legislation.  

Finally, delegates were given the opportunity to go ‘behind the scenes’ and find out how three businesses: video post-production company Sticks & Glass, facilities management and property recruitment service 300 North, and the Boot Repair Company are being supported to be stronger and more resilient by our regional Business Growth Service. During a Q&A session, the companies explained their reasons behind choosing to set up in Leeds, the different ways in which they are contributing to Inclusive Growth, and their exciting plans for the future. 

What’s clear is that there is a lot of interest in Leeds, how we are delivering, and what true collaboration looks like. People and businesses alike are all aligned on the fact we want to the city to continue to be successful for everyone. People want to know more, and we will continue to shout about the excellent work going on in the city with the aim of bringing more investment to city for the benefit of our residents, communities and businesses. 

Follow us on X (Twitter) @LeedsIGS to stay up to date with the latest news and events from the Inclusive Growth Partnership. 

Inclusive Growth January event

Event resources

The slides presented during the breakout sessions can be found here:

Valuing, protecting and growing our culture and heritage, the Royal Armouries as a case study for delivering Inclusive Growth (Nat Edwards and Sofi Lundgren) - click here

Stimulating innovation which drives and delivers measurable impact towards a healthier future (Kate Lodge and Rebecca Newborn) - click here and for more information about the launch of Health Innovation Leeds see here

Backing diverse innovators and entrepreneurs with the potential to develop high growth businesses (Zandra Moore and Alex Craven) - click here

Helping businesses and organisations to become more productive and thrive in the face of change (Phil Cole and Team) - click here

Get in touch

If you'd like further information about Inclusive Growth in Leeds or our Partnership please visit our website Inclusive Growth Leeds | Inclusive Growth Leeds or contact