Yorkshire is famed for its strong community spirit, which can be seen throughout the region, and with Leeds’ bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023, this has never been more evident.

It’s some four years since the first public meeting was held at Leeds Town Hall, where a discussion was kickstarted with 300 stakeholders about whether or not the city should bid for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023.

With a resounding commitment to create a campaign that would reach international media to promote and project the success story that Leeds has to share with the world, there was no doubt that Leeds is in prime position to take its place in the spotlight.

As the Leeds 2023 campaign becomes a Leeds Business Week (LBW) sponsor for a second year, we caught up with the bid team to find out how far they have come and what they can offer SMEs that want to get involved and BACK THE BID!

Every Business Should Back the Bid

Councillor Judith Blake comments: “As we approach the submission deadline for our bid, we call upon businesses of all sizes to show their support and to get involved. We believe the European Capital of Culture will have a positive impact on Leeds and its surrounding towns.

“Cities in the UK which have previously been European Capitals of Culture, such as Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008, saw hundreds of millions of pounds of direct economic benefit as well as millions more spent in preparing the cities for their bids. In addition, businesses used the chance to promote themselves not just locally, but across the UK, Europe and beyond through their support of the bid. If we can do the same it will have a positive impact that will leave a legacy for years to come.”

Join the Club

With more than 100 seminars and sessions taking place throughout LBW we attract thousands of professionals to the city to listen, learn and share whilst enjoying time spent with businesses from across a range of sectors.

As one of the major business events in the calendar, Leeds 2023 is using LBW to encourage SMEs to join The 2023 Club, which will give businesses of all sizes the chance to join major private sector partners, the city’s further and higher education sector and the Council to help Leeds to win its bid.

Councillor Blake continues: “We have secured around £450,000 towards the bid and, just as importantly, have built a unique network and relationships within a number of major companies in the region including Yorkshire Water, Yorkshire Bank, Yorkshire Building Society and AQL, as well as law firms, property developers, retailers, construction companies and other local and regional companies.

“This clearly shows the support of business in the city, and we are encouraging organisations of all sizes, including SMEs, to join this unique network and support the bid too.”

Using a Platform to Encourage Partners

Now, we know that LBW is one of the largest annual events of its kind in Leeds and throughout the North, which would make it an obvious platform for Leeds 2023 to interact, engage and encourage support from business.

As well as sharing the campaign message, the team are hoping to go one step further and attract an additional 25 businesses to become partners on the bid.

Councillor Blake concludes: “LBW is one of the major business events in the annual Leeds business calendar, alongside Buy Yorkshire. Leeds 2023 has been overwhelmed by the business community’s support so far: it really demonstrates the city’s strong commitment to winning this for Leeds and the wider region.

“Our European Capital of Culture bid presents a huge opportunity for our city to highlight and shout about its diverse population and reposition Leeds’ image in the UK and Europe. We are confident that Leeds can put on a year that the whole nation will be proud of. We have already secured major private sector partners for the bid process and we want to ensure the opportunity is available for every business to be part of the bid.”

If you would like to learn more about the Leeds 2023 European Capital of Culture bid please visit www.Leeds2023.co.uk or for regular updates and to show your support follow #LetsmakeLeeds2023 on Twitter.

Proud Supporters of Leeds 2023

As an organisation that champions all that is great and good about Yorkshire, we are very pleased to be working with Leeds 2023 to share the message and to put our efforts behind the bid.

We know that our region is good enough, we know that we have what it takes but we also know that we are stronger together. So, come on, let’s back the bid and put Leeds firmly on the map for the benefit of the city and region as a whole.