Businesses across Yorkshire are being encouraged to get involved with the Leeds bid for European Capital of Culture in 2023.
Speaking at the Leeds Trinity Business Network, Gerald Jennings, president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce urged SMEs to support the bid.
“Culture has played a huge part in changing the perception of Leeds from a post-industrial northern city, to a vibrant, culturally-rich and diverse place to live and work – and that has a knock on effect for businesses too,” said Mr Jennings.
“Businesses are already involved with the Leeds 2023 bid and the Leeds Chamber of Commerce is proud to be supporting the process – but there’s lots of other ways smaller businesses across the city can get involved. The bid’s steering committee and advisory groups have been appointed, but I have no doubt they would welcome hearing from businesses who want to share their expertise and get involved.
“It’s important that all businesses, whatever their size and location, contribute to, and gain from the bid, to ensure a successful outcome for 2023!”
The sentiment was also supported by cultural organisations Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse and The Tetley, who also spoke at the Leeds Trinity Business Network.
Bryony Bond, creative director at The Tetley, said: “Getting behind a bid like Leeds 2023 galvanises people; it will bring the business and cultural communities in Leeds together – and I hope lots of businesses show their support for the bid.”
In addition to supporting Leeds 2023, David Collins from Opera North, also encouraged businesses to support cultural organisations locally. He said:
“As a cultural organisation we’ve certainly had to broaden our dialogue and negotiation with businesses over the last few years. But now, we work with businesses in three ways; the first is our business partnership scheme where local companies pay a yearly subscription and receive a number of benefits in return; the second is our corporate hospitality packages; and the third is through a number of community outreach schemes supported by specific businesses.”
Mr Jennings added: “Businesses that engage with culture tend to have a better business culture; employees are happier; there is a greater sense of pride; and the working environment tends to be more productive.”
After submitting an expression of interest next month, the Leeds 2023 independent steering group will submit a final bid for the European Capital of Culture by December 2017. For more information, visit www.leeds2023.co.uk and look out for updates on social media.
The next Leeds Trinity Business Network takes place on Wednesday 4 January 2017 with an ‘Inspiring Futures’ theme. All businesses from across Leeds are welcome to attend.