Review of 2015


Unlocking Potential and Inspiring Growth - Wakefield's Place in the Leeds City Region

The week kicked off with a thought provoking breakfast launch event at The Kings Croft Hotel in Pontefract, where an expert panel discussed sustainable growth in Leeds City Region.

The panel included Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Councillor Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive of Wakefield Council, Paul Reid, Chair of Wakefield first and Bernard Ginns, Business Editor of The Yorkshire Post.

The panel discussed topics such as what the extension of devolved powers would mean, what a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is, how it could be beneficial and would its creation could mean for the region. Delegates were then given the opportunity to express their views with a Q&A and networking session to close.

You’re Hired - The Next Generation

On Monday afternoon the focus changed to the district’s future with an event discussing the importance of developing the skills of young people.

A series of speakers including Roger Marsh and representatives from the national Apprenticeship Service and Wakefield Apprenticeship Hub explained the benefits of Apprenticeships and skills progression for the future of businesses in Leeds City Region. Speakers also offered advice on funding, support and recruitment of apprenticeships, along with sharing best practice to get the most out of apprenticeships.


F5 (Refresh) Your Digital and Creative Skills

Tuesday was dedicated to Wakefield’s thriving creative, digital and IT sector. The ‘F5’ event was chaired by Dan Conboy of Cognitiv, the not-for-profit industry group which represents and promotes the businesses in this sector and encourages collaboration.

The event included speakers from Microsoft (Daniel Langton), Google (Abbey Oladapo) and BT (Tom Baker) discussing the development of technology and the digital world and how this is transforming the way businesses operate. Speakers from Leeds Enterprise Partnership Skills Service (Jas Hayre), the Tech Partnership (Mark Heholt) and Leeds Beckett University (Andrew Raby) highlighted the funding available to upskill existing workforces and how they can support businesses taking advantage of the growing digital economy.

Please click below to view the relevant presentation:




LEP Skills Service 

Leeds Beckett University


MY Business Conference 2015

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.

Sessions included -

Lee Jackson leading a 'PowerPoint Surgery'
Deborah Ogden on 'Positive Impact Personal Brand & Impact'
Nina Joy on 'Mind, Body and Business'

The panel discussion with:
Joanne Roney OBE - Wakefield Council Chief Executive
Michael Carter - Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Owner & Chairman
Roger Marsh OBE - Chairman of the Leeds Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
Dan Conboy - Co-founder Cognitiv
Sam Wright - Principal Wakefield College

The afternoon included the sessions:

Gary King from Tendo UK led 'Building the business you want and having your desired lifestyle'
Janet Bebb on 'Social Progress Social Media Crisis Management'
Nigel Greenwood of Simply Customer delivered 'The 6 things that all customers want'
The final session of the day was led by Richard Norman covering 'Brand Yorkshire Marketing with Emotional Intelligence'


Logistics – A Gateway to the Future

Thursday morning was dedicated to another of the district’s key sectors – Logistics. An event discussing the future of the sector was held at G Park, at one of the UK’s leading industrial clusters Wakefield Europort.

Over 60 delegates from local SMEs to multi-national companies attended 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.

Jamie Appleton, Enterprise and Communications Manager of Economic Development opened the event, summarising the support Wakefield Council and Wakefield first offer the logistics sector.

Bruce Topley, Senior Development Director at IDI Gazeleyl provided insights into current trends in the UK logistics property market and the key drivers of logistics business location decisions.

Mick McKigney Wakefield Council's, Economic Strategy Manager provided an overview of the recently completed report 'Wakefield's Logistics and Distribution Sector: A strategy for supporting the sector's development’.

Our panel of expert speakers included Professor Amar Ramudhin, Director of Logistics Institute, Hull University Business School, Rob Bell, CEO of Archomai and Peter McLeod, Editor of SHD Logistics Magazine.

The experts discussed what the future holds for the industry as technology, consumer demand and training needs evolve and what we can do to maintain a strong and vibrant logistics sector in Wakefield.

Please click here to view the presentation from the Logistics event

Access the World – A Guide to Exporting

In the afternoon at G-Park, an interactive workshop was held for delegates to identify export opportunities and the funding and support available.

The session highlighted how companies can quickly identify international opportunities and start achieving positive results. Running the session was Simon Bedford, who set up SGB Associates (UK) in 2002 and runs a wide range of export workshops.

He has just completed a book “Exporting Made Easy” a practical guide to selling services and products overseas. Simon is also an Associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, and is on contract to UK Trade & Investment to provide export support to companies.


Bondholders BBQ - Cooking Up A Vision For Wakefield

Wakefield First Bondholders closed an action packed Business Week 2015 with burgers and buns at a special informal BBQ networking event in Merchant Gate.

Opening with Cllr Jack Hemingway, the event cooked up conversation about what’s next for Wakefield with Adrian Spawforth delivering the community led vision for the future of the district.

Building on the success of the recent Wakefield First Bondholder events we experienced a great turnout which was another great opportunity for networking.

For further information please email