A festival which celebrated the region’s rising number of talented digital businesses attracted interest from as far afield as India and South Africa.
The organisers of Leeds Digital Festival believe it can play a major role in securing inward investment by turning the spotlight on Yorkshire’s thriving creative sector.
One of the biggest events of the festival was a debate about the growth in digital news, which was held in Headrow House, Leeds, and featured Tom Philips, the UK editorial director of Buzzfeed, Anna Doble, the editor of Newsbeat Online at the BBC, Ana Jakimovska, the head of product at Sky News and Greg Wright, the deputy business editor of The Yorkshire Post.
The debate considered the way online technologies have transformed the way Britons “consume” news.
Festival director Stuart Clarke said: “This week has seen 56 events, across 27 venues, with over 170 speakers; we’ve seen thousands of people involved and collaborating.
“We have so many talented individuals and innovative organisations in Leeds, and the Leeds Digital Festival has given us a chance to shout about them to the rest of the UK and across the world.
“We’ve had companies from Germany, Estonia, South Africa and India coming to Leeds because of the festival.
“Next year, we should be bolder and create an even bigger festival, which will mean more collaboration within the city and more inward investment from around the world.
“To do this, we need commitment from the city council, the LEP (local enterprise partnership) and the industry itself for continued funding. We’ve seen the appetite of the city this week for the festival, and it’s vital that we keep the momentum going.”
Many of the festival’s events championed the role of women within the digital sector.
More than 3,000 digital businesses based in Leeds were invited to host events to showcase their talent to the wider community.
Leeds Digital Festival organisers, including volunteers from a number of the city’s digital agencies and businesses in partnership with Leeds City Council, also plan to run festival events throughout the year and beyond.