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Leeds Business Lunch Sets the Tone for Future Success

by Lindsey Davies

27 February 2023

Walking into the room, you could be forgiven for assuming this to be a weekend gathering of friends, as opposed to a business lunch on a Monday afternoon in Leeds city centre.

  • Talent

Walking into the room, you could be forgiven for assuming this to be a weekend gathering of friends, as opposed to a business lunch on a Monday afternoon in Leeds city centre.  

Sponsored by Sedulo, the expert financial consultants; and PacketFabric, the company that is redefining excellence in the Network as a Service category, the atmosphere at the first Silicon Yorkshire Business Lunch at the Whitehall Restaurant and Bar in Leeds was one of excitement and anticipation.

As guests took to their tables, introductions were made, and the conversations started to flow.

It was clear from the outset that there was a diverse mix of people within the room; all with different backgrounds and a huge variety of skill sets. What’s more, each had their own story to share.

Welcoming leading tech talent

With wine and water glasses topped up, and just before the starters were served, Sam Hasson, Board Director at Silicon Yorkshire introduced Rik Barker.

As former Chief Technology Officer of Sky Bet, Chief Information Officer at Flutter and now Chief Operating Officer at XDesign, one of the fastest growing digital agencies in the UK, Rik took the opportunity to share his experiences of working in the tech sector.

Rik explained that during his career he had seen how businesses could expand quickly, in some instances attracting 800 new colleagues in a year. The flip side to this being that other smaller organisations often suffer as they are unable to compete when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

He said that he is determined in his new role to readdress and respect the balance.

After a brief insight into his work, Rik asked each individual in the room to introduce themselves to three people that they didn’t know in order to expand their connections and opportunities.

More sector insight from the experts

It was then on to a delicious starter and more chatter around the tables before Liz Whitefield, Director from Hippo Digital took to the floor.

Liz took the opportunity to explain how her career had seen her support the business from three team members to over 300! As well as celebrating the success that brings, she was very candid about the challenges that the company had faced along the way.

Sharing with the guests that the organisation had attracted investment that had allowed it to put in place the necessary processes, procedures and infrastructure to supports its growth, she said that the company is now seeing the benefits of its hard work.

Touching upon the Hippo Academy, which attracted 40 people in the first year, many that are still with the business, Liz explained that the focus for her was on ensuring that the organisation retained its values of delivering people-led design and having fun!

A final word from our sponsor

As the main courses were served, the energy in the room continued to build. Connections were being made, topics discussed and ideas shared.

Once the plates were cleared, the final speaker of the day, George Stuffins from Sedulo, the expert financial consultants to some of the UK’s most exciting entrepreneurs, had the attention of the audience.

As sponsors of the event, George explained that the passion of the Silicon Yorkshire group to bring people together and create a tech community, had really appealed to Sedulo due to the mutual involvement in impacting communities.

He went on to explain that Yorkshire is a breeding ground for great people and is becoming a hot spot for innovative businesses.

Keen to announce that giving back to the community is one of Sedulo’s core business pillars, he shared one example of the company’s charity activity: its Back to school campaign. Ensuring children are given every opportunity to succeed in education, the initiative provides the right food, uniform and resource to some of the most deprived children in the country.

Sedulo’s 25 per cent year on year growth is applauded by its network, as George comments: “We make a promise that the larger our business grows, the greater the impact we will make in our communities”.

The business has expanded this activity and has sponsored more than 1,000 children annually, raising £100k for families in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

As a result, those that are having a difficult time during the festive season can enjoy a Christmas dinner and children that would otherwise go without receive toys to open.

Toasting a successful event

While that may have been the end of the first Business Lunch for Silicon Yorkshire, it was certainly a day to remember.

As the drinks continued to flow and the chatter showed no signs of slowing, members of Silicon Yorkshire were able to prove the group philosophy that we can create more opportunities for everyone when we come together.

Read more about the events that are planned over the coming months by visiting:

Attracting 3,000 pre-registrations before launch, Silicon Yorkshire brings executives and senior executives from technology ecosystems throughout Yorkshire and beyond together. The group has ambitions to become the largest and most active tech community in the UK.