Leeds shows rest of north how it’s done

The Corn Exchange allows start-ups to get off the ground. PIC: Callum Ronan
The Corn Exchange allows start-ups to get off the ground. PIC: Callum Ronan
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Leeds is out-performing the rest of the UK when it comes to tackling unemployment.

The investment into the retail sector, in the light of the John Lewis and Victoria Gate centre openings, has made a significant difference but the entrepreneurial skills of traders in Leeds is also being cited as a huge factor.

In the last 12 months, official figures for people out of work have dropped from 696,000 to 539,000 meaning there are 157,000 more people in work.

City jobs and employment expert, Craig Burton said: “The position in Leeds reflects that but I also think it is better than that. It is much better in terms of quality employment.

“It has always been known as the city of a thousand trades. The economy has always been pretty diverse. That maybe why there is a pattern for more entrepreneurships than in other cities.”

Mr Burton, who has run recruitment company, The Works, for 25 years, said he had seen in Leeds a shift away from the traditional high street offering to independent business.

He added: “York is leading the way but Leeds has a great eclectic mix of independent retailers compared to Harrogate which I noticed has not – they have got more chains than Leeds has.

“Leeds has an opportunity that I don’t think it knows it has to be successful with that and we have got to celebrate that.”

Mr Burton added that 
Leeds as a city, also has a 
better infrastructure for supporting new and small enterprises but statistically only one per cent of new start ups come from people native to the UK.

He added: “We are really good in Leeds at helping to get them started.

“They would have died 20 years ago because there was not that support mechanism for them.”

Jeremy Shulman

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