Busy-ness Week

The third Wakefield Business Week has been hailed as a roaring success with over 900 businesses and entrepreneurs participating across the week.  Truly a Busy Business Week!! Delivered in partnership between Wakefield first, Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Unity Works and supported by a host of fantastic local businesses, the action packed week of events from 22 to 26 June included sessions on logistics, the digital IT and creative industries, lively panel discussions, a range of workshops and plenty of time for networking!

Opening with ‘Unlocking Potential & Inspiring Growth – Wakefield’s place in the Leeds City Region.’ The panel of speakers, Cllr Peter Box CBE, Joanne Roney OBE, Roger Marsh OBE, Paul Reid and Bernard Ginns tackled the meaning of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and the opportunities as well as the risks of devolution.  With a focus on supporting economic growth across the district the discussion and Q&A provided an excellent start to the week.

With a focus shifting to the value of apprenticeships ‘You’re Hired  - The Next Generation’ took businesses through the benefits of apprenticeships and the funding available to do it. Delegates attended Unity Works to hear from speakers including Georgina Freeman, Vice President of Youth Chamber International and currently an apprentice at Chadwick Lawrence solicitors. Georgina provided the perfect case study as to how apprentices can benefit businesses. The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Skills Service provided delegates with a rundown of the support they can provide to help businesses take on apprentices and upskill their workforce.

Tuesday’s creative digital and IT event, ‘F5 (Refresh) Your Digital and Creative Skills’, included speakers from Microsoft, Google and BT discussing the development of technology and the digital world and how this is transforming the way businesses operate. The event was chaired by Dan Conboy of Cognitiv, Wakefield’s own Digital, Creative and IT industry group. Speakers from Leeds Enterprise Partnership Skills Service, the Tech Partnership and Leeds Beckett University highlighted the funding available to upskill existing workforces and how they can support businesses taking advantage of the growing digital economy.

Wednesday’s Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce organised 'MY Business Conference’ had over 400 attending a day of sessions and workshops alongside a range of exhibitors from local businesses, business support services and organisations.  Delegates who attended the conference were able to attend sessions on skills such and social media marketing, improving PowerPoint presentations, and branding and customer service.

Utilising G Park a currently empty unit at Wakefield Europort over 60 delegates attended ‘Logistics a Gateway to the Future’ to hear an expert panel discuss the changing face of the industry through technology and customer demand as well as highlighting the key position that Wakefield is in to support and promote Wakefield as the premier logistics hub in Northern England.

Later in the day UKTI helped to deliver a workshop ‘Access the world – A Guide to Exporting’ to help support businesses who had not considered the potential for exporting as well as providing comprehensive guidance on the support available through UKTI to support UK businesses entering the export marketing.

Friday’s ‘Bondholder BBQ – Cooking Up a Vision for Wakefield’  was opened by Cllr Jack Hemingway, Cabinet Assistant, Economic Growth and Skills and closed  with a presentation from Adrian Spawforth Chair of Wakefield Bondholders  on the community vision for the future of Wakefield.  With the weather holding out!  The event was held in one of the units in Merchant Gate as delegates used the afternoon on the final day to network and discuss what the future holds for Wakefield.

The week built on the excellent work of Wakefield first in supporting local businesses to achieve sustainbale growth.  The week has set the foundation for an even bigger and better Wakefield Business Week 2016!  If you want to get involved with the planning for the next years events or have ideas about the future of Wakefield Business Week contact us on info@wakefieldfirst.com