‘Levelling Up & Invest in Yorkshire’ 22 November 2022

Yorkshire: a fast-growing investment destination

Equity finance fuels the UK’s nations and regions. So why did London’s dominance of the equity finance market continue in 2021?

According to the British Business Bank, 66% of investment and 49% of deals in the UK went to London whilst the regions are awash with opportunities. Having worked in Yorkshire’s vibrant early stage tech community for some time, this remains a mystery to me.

This is why the IoD decided to invite business leaders, investors and early stage companies to our prestigious Pall Mall offices to showcase and discuss Yorkshire and its opportunities for SME investment.

Delegates were taken on a journey across the Yorkshire economy which included insights from business leaders, success stories from SMEs and a discussion with a panel of investors who have decided to locate their offices in the Yorkshire region to be at the heart of its entrepreneurial activity.

Keynote speaker Jane Steer of co-sponsor PwC addressed the importance of the Government’s levelling up agenda as we emerge from the pandemic. She outlined how our priority must be the delivery of a fair recovery that benefits all people and places so that we can address some of the regional inequalities that exist today.

She stressed the importance of Government, businesses and local leaders collaborating in order to capitalise on the opportunity to create successful places right across the UK following the publication of the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper.

One of Yorkshire’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, Zandra Moore, CEO of Panintelligence, took us back to basics by outlining a few learnings that have underpinned her own success – starting with world-famous Yorkshire grit.

Her journey started at a tender age with her mother’s valuable advice that ‘shy bairns get nowt!’ This advice has driven the confidence and tenacity needed for Zandra to build an international embedded data analytics business that is thriving and set to achieve an Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of £3.5m in 2023.

Not only has she built a flourishing business, Zandra is also part of the collaborative, early stage tech community in Yorkshire that embraces and supports its young entrepreneurs so effectively. She is a strong believer in role models for diversity, quoting Marian Wright Edelman “You can’t be what you can’t see”.

Award-winning, Yorkshire-born film producer Sid Sadowski treated us to his short film entitled ‘A playground like no other’, which is narrated by Sean Bean. This was a visual immersion of the best of Yorkshire, from breathtaking aerial views of its landscapes to reasons why the region is such an appealing place to live, work, invest, study and visit.

Speakers highlighted Yorkshire’s key strengths with the equality and diversity of its people at its heart. Yorkshire has always embraced its multi-cultural society and today it leads the UK with numerous initiatives ensuring that everyone is valued equally and can contribute to the region’s future success.

The region’s prestigious universities provide a pool of skilled employees and world class research, attracting start-ups and major companies alike. Leeds, for example, has developed both skilled talent

and the financial muscle needed to fund start-ups and innovation, especially in healthcare, whilst supporting its traditional areas of expertise in the financial, legal services, manufacturing and retail sectors. Major employers including the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the new UK Infrastructure Bank have all recently chosen to open offices in Leeds.

Following interesting insights from Garry Wilson, BVCA and Roderick Beer, UKBAA, on the importance of venture capital and angel investment in supporting SME growth, the event culminated in a panel discussion from funders who have offices and deploy capital in the region.

The funds Foresight Group, Anticus Partners, Praetura Ventures and Northern Gritstone were all represented along with angel investment syndicate North Invest and international networking group Investor Ladder.

It was clear from the conversation that there is an attractive breadth and volume of SME investment opportunities in Yorkshire and it is no surprise that this is now generating interest from both national and international investors.

I don’t think anyone left the room without feeling the passion and enthusiasm of those that are driving economic growth in the region. This was an afternoon that made me excited about the future and proud to live and work in Yorkshire.

Thanks to the 120 delegates for attending and the sponsors of the event, including the main sponsors PwC and British Business Bank.

The secret’s out – Yorkshire is an investment destination with significant growth potential!

Judith Parry is an Ambassador for IoD Noth Yorkshire

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The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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