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Leeds MP Hilary Benn ‘very impressed’ by new Platform for city’s digital and tech sector

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Hilary Benn MP with Jessica Bowles, Director of Strategy at Bruntwood (far right), Amy De-Balsi, Head of Innovation & Partnerships at Bruntwood SciTech (third from right) and representatives of companies based at Platform

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn has visited Platform – home to the city’s vibrant tech cluster. Mr Benn was given a tour of the building and participated in a roundtable discussion with representatives from some of the 80 companies based there including Northcoders, DigiBete, Isokron and Other Things.

Part of Bruntwood SciTech, the 13-storey building next to Leeds station is now the focal point of the region’s digital entrepreneurial talent.

Platform’s tech hub includes 42 studio offices and co-working space. The large lounge and roof terrace offer a range of social, networking and business support events, all designed to stimulate collaboration and support business growth.

He commented: “I’ve really enjoyed it and was very impressed.

“The digital and tech sector is hugely important to the city. It’s growing and what Bruntwood SciTech is offering is a chance for new businesses to set up and hopefully grow, expand and employ other people. That adds to the success of the city.

“Congratulations to all involved.”

The Leeds Central MP was shown around by Amy De-Balsi, Head of Innovation & Partnerships for Bruntwood SciTech in Leeds.

Amy said: “We are proud of Platform and the diverse mix of digital and tech talent we host. It was a pleasure to welcome Hilary and introduce him to the people and activities which have earned Platform’s reputation as the home of tech in Leeds.

“Bruntwood SciTech is working hard to provide tech start-ups with vital business support – from university talent and investors to professional service providers. Digital and tech firms no longer have to go to London for investment. Platform stands proudly as testament to this.

“We work to provide companies at all stages of the business life cycle with inspirational, innovative environments in which to thrive. 34 jobs were created in Platform’s tech hub during its first year of operation. With new companies joining us all the time, that number is expected to grow significantly.

“It was terrific that Hilary took time out to visit and allow us to showcase what Bruntwood SciTech does. We look forward to welcoming him back to Platform soon.”

The building is home to the Northcoders bootcamp, the first of its kind in Leeds.

Chris Hill, Founder and CEO of Northcoders who took part in the roundtable with Mr Benn, said: “Hilary’s interest and pride in the technology sector within Leeds are extremely clear. More so is his passion for the people in this city, and the opportunities this thriving sector provides for them.

“Northcoders is working hard to train people from all works of life and ultimately provide the cutting-edge skills which companies need to fuel their growth. Technology is the present and the future of our region. I find it reassuring to know that supporting that is very much on the political radar and would like to thanks Hilary for his time.”

Rob Julian, Co-Founder/Director of DigiBete, said he was also pleased to meet the Leeds Central MP and discuss the company’s work.

He said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to raise the profile of our social enterprise supporting young people and their families managing the complexities of Type 1 Diabetes.

“We felt that Hilary really engaged with our mission. We particularly enjoyed the discussion around opportunities for engaging with harder to reach communities which is a passion that we all shared.”