Wednesday 25 April was a first for Cloth Hall Court, part of the Well Met conferencing department for Leeds Beckett University, when it played host to the speakers, sponsors and special guests of FinTech North for the venue’s very first dinner.
FinTech North brings together policy and decision makers across public and private sector, alongside some of the region’s most well-established business, media, financial services and tech firms.
In looking for a venue with the right mix of prestige and informality, the beautifully refurbished former 18th century textile trading site, Cloth Hall Court, and the contemporary and functional aesthetic of the main dining area, was an ideal space, as Tim Connell, Consultant at Whitecap explains, he said:
“This is our third year of running the pre-conference dinner. Our speakers and sponsors tell us that this is an important opportunity for them to get to know their fellow participants, so we wanted an informal space where people can eat, chat and connect in a relaxed setting.
“Our contact at Leeds Beckett suggested Cloth Hall Court, its dedicated conferencing venue, would provide what we were looking for. It’s an expansive space that we used to our advantage. Laying out the large tables with family-style sharing platters meant our guests were soon making the most of the relaxed setting.”
In keeping with the unconventional approach, working with Development Chef, Melissa Hudson devised a menu of high-quality sharing dishes. Charlie Denison, Chef, Cloth Hall Court, said: “We wanted to create a mix of dishes that would be suitable for a relaxed buffet style, but still bursting with quality and flavour. Equally, we wanted to use this as an opportunity to showcase the best of Yorkshire from our amazing, local suppliers. The family sharing platters meant that we could prepare a lot of the dishes in advance so that everything was ready for our guests when they arrived. We were really pleased how good the tables looked laden with Yorkshire’s finest too!”
Cloth Hall Court opened in July 2017 as a dedicated conferencing venue as part Well Met, the conference office of Leeds Beckett University. The city centre venue, just two minutes from Leeds train station, underwent a £4.5m refurbishment to transform it to a state-of-the-art facility.
Clare Vidler, Conference Manager at Cloth Hall Court commented: “This was a first for us and I’m delighted at how well the team responded to make this happen. We always endeavour to make events perfect for our customers and the team worked well to create a relaxed, but high-quality event on behalf of FinTech North. We’re immensely proud of Cloth Hall Court and think it is a very special venue, so it is very rewarding when our customers also appreciate it.”
Tim Connell agrees, he added: “Relaxed, fun and informal is how we wanted our guests to remember the evening and both Cloth Hall Court and the Well Met teams went out of their way to make that happen. We were really impressed by the venue with both the excellent city-centre location and the service that we’ve received. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and they were happy to tailor a menu and wine list specifically suited to our needs.”
Fin Tech North takes place today, Thursday 26 April, as part of Leeds Digital Festival, and focuses on the skills, resources and economic strength of the FinTech community in the north, as well as exploring opportunities for further growth.
The FinTech North conference will be attended by sponsors, speakers and visitors including representatives from Government and the Northern Powerhouse, high street and investment banks, overseas investors, entrepreneurs, academics, industry regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority, and influential bodies including the Confederation of British Industry.
The Leeds event is the first in a series of three FinTech North events. The other two conferences take place in Manchester (22nd May) and Liverpool (12th June).
Now in its third year, FinTech North was set up in 2016 by Leeds-based Whitecap Consulting and White Label Crowdfunding to reinforce the UK’s Northern Powerhouse region as a centre of excellence for FinTech.