Happy birthday! Tech innovators have Platform for success in Leeds

Craig Burrow.
Craig Burrow.

Leeds city centre’s Platform building – home to a much-praised tech incubator – is celebrating its first birthday. Craig Burrow, a director at Bruntwood, the firm that developed Platform, today writes for Digital City about the building’s year to remember.

Platform has surpassed our expectations, not only redefining what a workspace can and should be, but by playing an integral role in the success of the businesses it hosts and the city region’s wider economy.

Just take a look at the figures. Platform was 95 per cent let or under offer within nine months.

Its tech incubator, launched in April this year, supports 67 businesses and, in all, the building is home to 87 companies.

From its very beginning Platform has had business growth written into its DNA.

We wanted to raise the bar in the city’s office market, providing a gateway to Leeds’s digital and tech sectors and establishing a landmark destination for the region’s top businesses.

Platform’s tech incubator, supported by Leeds City Council’s Tech Hub Fund, has been key to achieving this vision, but it’s not just the incubator that is geared around growth.

We’ve created spaces that are designed to support businesses at every stage of their journey – from startup through to the next stage and beyond and this flexible, adaptive environment has helped us to support a number of businesses to move to the next level.

Take Harrogate digital agency 9xb, for example. After several business wins and increased requirements from existing clients, 9xb needed a place to expand to support its growth.

They opted for Platform and have never looked back, extending their office three times and growing from an initial staff of five to 23, creating 13 jobs.

Platform was designed to make sure the people and businesses within it had as many opportunities to meet up as possible.

At Bruntwood, experience told us that the co-location of startup and established businesses enables open innovation, collaboration and growth which can happen by ensuring that different types of ventures can easily mix in co-working spaces and by having access to the best expert support.

So, Platform is much more than just a building. It’s a growth enabler and has quickly made an impact on the Leeds inward investment scene.

A big indicator of this came when Reed Smith Global Solutions, part of global law firm Reed Smith, made Platform the home of its first northern UK office.

By continuously evolving and adapting the space, services and community, we’ll help more businesses to grow, boost regional growth, create high value jobs and fuel more international collaboration and investment.

We’re making sure that Platform has something to offer the arts and culture scene too.

As sponsors of Leeds Digital Festival, we launched our tech incubator space on the first day of the festival in April this year and look forward to continuing our support in 2019.

We’ve also championed digital artwork from Leeds Beckett University art department and practising artists as part of our curatorial programme.

With so much already achieved in year one, the future for Platform, like the businesses within it, holds endless possibilities.