Leeds Digital City: Sky’s the limit for industry with big ambitions

Richard Flint at the launch of Digital City. PIC: James Hardisty
Richard Flint at the launch of Digital City. PIC: James Hardisty
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Digital City could not come at a better time for the tech sector in Leeds so I’m delighted that Sky Betting & Gaming are able to support its launch.

We’ve been based in Leeds since 2010, when we moved from Harrogate into Wellington Place. At the time we had just under 200 staff. Earlier this month we welcomed our 1000th employee to the business.

As we’ve grown in size, become independent from Sky and opened a new office in Sheffield, we’ve also started to do more to support the wider business community in the cities that we are based in.

A new report shows that in 2014/15 in Leeds, our activities contributed £126m of Gross Value Added to the local economy.

That is the equivalent to nearly one fifth of the GVA the tech sector as a whole contributes to our city’s economic output.

One of the biggest barriers to growing the city’s tech sector beyond the £671m it is currently worth is a lack of people with the right digital skills.

So we’ve decided to do something about that through our £1.5m investment in a new software academy.

This will help ensure that there is a pipeline of talent in the region. I hope that those who graduate from this programme stay with us for a while.

But if, like others have done, they go on to set up their own tech companies in the city then I would like to think we’ll have helped them on their way.

I’d like Digital City to help highlight the opportunities that exist in Leeds for young people to build a career in the tech sector.

This message should ring out from these pages and be carried across the rest of the country so that we can capitalise on the great work that is already happening.

Richard Flint, chief executive, Sky Betting & Gaming.