A delegation of industry leaders from Leeds headed to Boston in America to strengthen and develop links between the two cities.
Building on visits to Leeds from delegates from Greater Boston in recent years, the trip took place between July 25-27 and was managed by Leeds City Council, with chief executive Tom Riordan being joined by a range of senior Leeds figures from a range of industries including education, medtech, health innovation and fintech.
During the Leeds-Boston Mission the group – including Translate Technology Innovation Manager, Danielle Miles – met with world-leading experts in those fields based in Boston, promoting mutual opportunities for investment in both cities and sharing ideas and insight.
The visit also aimed to raise the profile of Leeds and establish new partnerships in trade, investment, academia and government relations. It is part of a drive for Leeds to develop relationships across the world with global centres of excellence like Boston, which has similar characteristics and economic strengths as Leeds.
With Leeds having been announced in May as being chosen for the prestigious Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) leadership programme run by the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), members of the delegation carried out an initial meeting with the REAP team.
This follows an event hosted by the University of Leeds and the British Consul General in Boston Harriet Cross, where Leeds formally accepted its place on the programme.
The programme offered the team expert, evidence-based insight about potential ways of driving economic growth and accelerating the impact of projects like the University of Leeds’ new innovation centre, Nexus, which will act as a catalyst to make the region more attractive to growing businesses.
Previous international trade missions have proved highly successful in attracting major new inward investment into Leeds, with one leading example being the multi-million-pound investment from the Chinese Hualing Industry and Trade Group into Thorpe Park announced in 2015.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:
“This delegation heading to Boston is very important for Leeds as we are keen to continue building and developing new and stronger relationships around the world, raising the profile of Leeds on a global level and encouraging investment and innovation here to drive jobs and growth and opportunities for all.
“Boston is similar to Leeds as a city, with its world-leading education, medtech and innovation focus matching our own strengths, so there is much we can learn from each other as we look to establish a strong long-term relationship boosted by our participation in MIT’s REAP programme.”
Chief executive of Leeds City Council Tom Riordan said:
“The Boston and Leeds economies are quite similar – world-leading universities, strengths in financial, healthcare and data technologies and the beautiful hinterlands of New Hampshire and Yorkshire respectively. We want to learn how Boston has complemented New York so we can make Leeds do the same with London. The University of Leeds/MIT partnership will allow us to learn alongside eight regions across the world and open up new opportunities for our businesses, academics and policymakers.
“As the UK leaves the European Union, Leeds isn’t waiting for national bodies to decide what we should do. We are taking our own initiative to open up new markets and relationships with like-minded city leaders across the world.”
University of Leeds Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Lisa Roberts, who is the Leeds team champion for the REAP, said:
“The university is delighted to be leading the MIT programme. The MIT programme will for the first time bring senior stakeholders from Leeds together, to work towards a strategic plan and actions to drive economic growth and opportunity in the region. It also gives us the chance to learn from teams from regions across the world. So this is our chance, as a collective force, to make a real difference to the region.”
The Leeds in Boston visit has been sponsored by DLA Piper and Virgin Atlantic, with public sector delegates paying for their own travel, accommodation and related expenses. The visit has also received support from the British Consulate in Boston and its DIT experts, and from British expatriates and University of Leeds alumni based in Boston.
Notes to editors:
The list of Leeds delegates who attended the Leeds-Boston Mission is as follows:
- Tom Riordan, Chief Executive, Leeds City Council.
- Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research & Innovation, University of Leeds.
- Martin Stow, Nexus Director, University of Leeds.
- David Aspin, Founder, Munroe K.
- Adam Beaumont, CEO & Founder aql, Northinvest, Board member of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
- Ben Ziff, Managing Director, Town Centre Securities and CitiPark.
- David Hogg, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, University of Leeds.
- Mark Birkin, Director, Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA).
- Andrew Dyson, Partner, DLA.
- Gordon Bateman, Managing Director, Complete Resourcing
- Julian Wells, Director, Whitecap Consulting.
- Stefan Haase, Director, Whitecap Consulting.
- Greg Willmott, Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, YBS.
- Tariq Sadiq, Inward Investment Lead, Leeds City Council.
- James Goodyear, Associate Director, Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.
- Danielle Miles, Technology Innovation Manager, University of Leeds.
- Kieran Zucker, Honorary Clinical Oncology Specialist Registrar – Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.
- Andy Lima, Digital Strategist and leading researcher at The Retail Institute, Leeds Beckett University
- Justine Andrew, Market Director, Education, KPMG LLP
To see more information about Leeds taking part in the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) leadership programme, visit https://news.leeds.gov.uk/leeds-city-team-to-reap-rewards-from-mit-leadership-programme/ or to see the regions taking part visit http://reap.mit.edu/community/cohort-6/