Leeds Beckett University has a strong reputation for proactive and positive engagement with local businesses, business representative bodies and statutory authorities, and is developing new business centres in the Leeds City Region.
Leeds Beckett University’s Business Centres are currently home to 240 SMEs in Leeds and Wakefield and with the University’s new Halifax UBC opening in the spring of 2018, over 400 businesses will soon be based at LBU’s sites.
Simon Baldwin, Head of Enterprise and Operations at Leeds Beckett, defines the success of these centres in terms of their “positive impact on local economies, and through the creation and growth of innovative new businesses, employing highly skilled local people.”
“Leeds Beckett is committed to supporting growth and prosperity in our region. This initiative will accelerate growth in new and developing businesses by providing them with direct access to vial knowledge and resources.” Peter Slee, Leeds Beckett University Vice-Chancellor
Wakefield and Calderdale are “cold spots” of higher education. Neither have a university within their local authority area. Local political leaders believe this leads to lower levels of graduate employment and slower and less inclusive growth when compared to cities with established universities. Through formal Memoranda of Understanding the University and local authorities are able to explore how they can work together to address these issues.
Leeds Beckett University has operated a very successful (and financially self-sustaining) business centre for 15 years from multiple sites in Leeds. Each site provides flexible office accommodation for new and growing businesses and offers them access to a range of supporting infrastructure and advice. The Centre creates an environment in which entrepreneurs and businesses can thrive. This approach underpins the establishment of two new University Business Centres (UBC) in Wakefield and Halifax.
In Wakefield, where the UBC was launched in January 2018, the city’s college is the base of the new business hub. Sam Wright, Chief Executive and Principal of Wakefield College, has ring-fenced hot desks in the Centre to enable former students to access the support and guidance they need to facilitate businesses growth.
“Through the relationships between the university and the college, we will create opportunities for the businesses based in our UBC to access our student talent, through placements, projects and employment, giving our best students direct opportunities with great local employers.” Simon Baldwin, Leeds Beckett University Head of Enterprise and Operations
Councillor Denise Jeffery, Deputy Leader of Wakefield Council, said the new business hub was a “great step forward in supporting business and bringing jobs and prosperity into our district”.
This article first appeared in the 2018 State of the Relationship report, commissioned by Research England and compiled and published by NCUB.