Young entrepreneur showcases why Leeds City Region is a great place for tech scale ups

We caught up with Joshua to discuss why Leeds City Region is a great place to set up and grow a digital business; how the tech ecosystem in Leeds has been helpful in making connections and what support the LEP can offer digital businesses to scale up and grow.

Between 2015 and 2018 Leeds City Region had the fastest growing digital sector in the country, with employment growth of 48%.  It is home to 20 of the fastest-growing tech companies in the North of England, according to Northern Tech 100, and, 13 of the Prolific North’s Top 50 PR Agencies.  

The region’s digital economy is worth £6.5 billion, and its tech ecosystem now boasts a wide range of co-working spaces, tech hubs and start up support schemes, all contributing to the region’s status as the UK’s digital heartland. 

These are some of the many reasons that led Jublo founder, Joshua Atkins, to choose Leeds as the perfect place to scale up his digital tech and translation startup.   

We caught up with Joshua to discuss why Leeds City Region is a great place to set up and grow a digital business; how the tech ecosystem in Leeds has been helpful in making connections and what support the LEP can offer digital businesses to scale up and grow.  

What attracted you to start up in Leeds City Region and why do you think it’s a great place to grow a digital business?  

I was born in Leeds, and have lived here my whole life, so I love that we are contributing to the city’s growth and development. There’s just a genuine warmth about the city, everyone wants to work together and help you however they can, which as a growing company has been invaluable.  

Yorkshire is also the fastest-growing region in the digital sector, and Leeds is right at the heart of all that which is really exciting to be a part of. In recent years we’ve seen some huge digital companies relocate to the city, most recently with Channel 4 and it’s becoming more widely recognised across the country that we have great digital talent here and that it’s worth tapping into.  

As a startup, how supportive have you found the tech ecosystem in Leeds and the wider region, and how has this helped you to set up in Platform? 

We were really happy to be involved in the Leeds Digital Festival last month (albeit virtually), which is a great event for people in the tech community.  

We took part with Women in Leeds Digital - I gave a talk about my route into the industry, gave advice for young people and appeared on the panel of speakers in a Q&A. Hearing other people’s stories was really inspiring, and there were lots of other events hosted by companies in the industry. The festival offers a great opportunity to network within different industries but with technology at the heart.  

We moved into Platform at a bit of an awkward time (mid-pandemic), but we are really grateful to Bruntwood and especially Deb Hetherington, Head of Innovation who has given us lots of support - helping us to connect with other professionals in the city, and most recently we embarked on an business case study in partnership with Leeds Beckett University which we probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise. It feels like a great fit for us to be here and we love being in the city centre, everyone in Platform and the Tech Hub have been really welcoming and it just shows how strong the sense of community is within the tech industry.  

How can the LEP support Jublo with its future growth ambitions?  

The LEP offers a great support network, and how I see them supporting us is by helping Jublo to connect us with international and city-wide opportunities. As a translation company we have a lot to offer the city and inward investors from across the globe, those looking to move here and translate their business as well as those based in Leeds that are looking to expand outwards.  

We’re already working with the skills team within the LEP to talk about my career story into digital and I’m hoping to inspire other people whose journey might not be through university.  

We see the work that the LEP does to get Leeds on the map, and their work focusing on growing the digital sector in itself, helps us as a Leeds-based company to expand our reach. 

Inspired to find out how we can help your tech business? Find out more about our #welcome digital inward investment fund that offers relocation support and funding for businesses outside of the region with a 50% contribution, up to a total of £50,000. Visit welcometoleedscityregion for more information where you can find out more from key spokespeople in the sector and the businesses we’ve supported. Alternatively, you can get in touch via invest@the-lep.com