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04 May 2017

Leeds City Region’s Inward Investment team has had a busy month of international visits, promoting opportunities for global businesses to invest in the largest City Region outside of London.

 

London focus to promote the Fintech Capital of the North

In mid-April the LEP, in partnership with colleagues from Harrogate and Bradford Council, promoted Leeds City Region as the natural ‘Fintech Capital of the North’ at the Innovate Finance Global Summit at Guildhall, London.  The prestigious event was attended by 2,000 delegates from global financial institutions, tech start-ups, investors and policy makers to share ideas and solutions facing financial services. 

During the event, members of the Trade and Investment team met with 57 key contacts with whom follow up work is now taking place. Chris Woolard, Director of Strategy and Competition at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) spoke at the event and praised Leeds as a ‘key region where finance and technology collide’.

Planning next steps for trading in China

Building on the success and goodwill generated by the Leeds City Region delegation to China In early April, two members of the Trade and Investment team visited Frankfurt to attend the Netease Kaola European Investment Conference, and met with the Kaola.com team to plan next steps.  The meeting focused on the promoting of the Kaola.com opportunity to Leeds City Region businesses, with a renewed focus on targeting local producers of:

  • Baby and children’s products
  • Health and beauty products
  • Global food products
  • Clothes and accessories
  • Family living products

The team look forward to welcoming a representative from Kaola.com to the City Region in the early summer to meet business owners with an appetite to break into the lucrative Chinese market.

York expansion for US cancer fighting drug development firm

April drew to a close with the exciting news that up to 30 new laboratory jobs are coming to York as global drug development business, Covance, expands its cancer fighting work in Leeds City Region.

The National Agri-Food Innovation Campus (NAFIC), at Sand Hutton near York, has been chosen by Covance to expand its biopharmaceutical chemistry, manufacturing and control (BioPharmCMC) capabilities.  The new facility will build on the company’s existing City Region presence in Harrogate where more than 1000 people are employed.

The York laboratory, which will open in late 2017, will allow Covance to continue to its work on creating antibodies, vaccines, biosimilars and cell-based and gene therapies.  This is critical in the treatment of many life-threatening and life-changing diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and, most notably, cancer.

Roger Marsh OBE, chairman of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said: “I’m delighted to see Covance not only recommit its future to the City Region but make a substantial new investment here. I believe these new laboratories in York are a testament to the confidence in the City Region and our life sciences sector. This investment will ensure that our City Region remains at the forefront of the sector”.

US DIT visit

On 7th April, the Trade and Investment team hosted a delegation of 27 representatives from the US DIT team. The aim of the visit was to raise the profile of the distinct capabilities in life sciences, manufacturing and digital sectors with key influencers in our FDI target market of the US.

The delegates visited the Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI) in Leeds, where prototypes are developed and tested in a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory.  The team at NIRI have a unique combination of textile scientific expertise and commercial experience and explained to the delegation how they supported the development of the innovative SurfaceSkins (recently featured in the Huffington Post) product which eliminates the spread of infection in hospitals. 

This was followed by a visit to US investor, Equifax, a leading player in data insights operating in the financial sector.  The Leeds office is base to 190 employees with a focus on data and IT operations and business analytics.  The office features urban gardens, exercise classes and a five a-side floodlit football pitch at the showpiece Wellington Place development, highlighting the premium working environments available in Leeds City Region.   

Next steps include more detailed information exchange about sector capabilities and regular communications with the US team.