Leeds Digital Festival is returning on April 23 – May 3, giving coders, creatives and everybody inbetween an excuse to pop out of the coworking space to attend a session or three.
Now into its fourth year, the metropolitan marvel is an open platform, meaning anybody can host an event – from a seminar to a workshop or evening spectacle – so long as they have something to offer the city’s digital workers.
Leeds Digital Festival 2018 saw a record 170 events held across a multitude of venues – a vaster number than were held in San Francisco over the same period. While the figure makes for a fun headline, it also shows a high level of collaboration in the sector.
We’ve rounded up a selection of events which promise to provide digital tech startups and scaleups with the knowledge and connections needed to grow. We’ll be adding more as they’re confirmed.
This free seminar by local law firm Shulmans will give you a deep dive into the importance of protecting your intellectual property (IP) and how branding can add value to your business. If that’s not enough to lure you, there’s also free bacon sandwiches, pastries and coffee.
Access Innovation – Selling your innovation masterclass
We’re all here to make money, right? (In addition to changing the world, obviously.) So why not start off your festival by honing your salescraft. Delivered by RTC North as part of the Access Innovation Programme, this masterclass promises to give you the tools needed to grow your sales pipeline.
Leeds-based grant funding experts Driad have helped more than 120 startups collectively raise more than £31 million. You’ll get to tap into some of that knowledge at this event, where you’ll be able to sit down with a funding expert to discuss key aspects of raising – such as the types of funding currently available; your project eligibility; how to conduct the initial review of a funding application; and guidance on how to progress your application.
One for scaling companies in particular, this session will give you a deep dive in how to secure growth funding for your business. You’ll hear from entrepreneurs who have been through the process, while gleaning nuggets of wisdom from industry experts.
Founders are guaranteed to make mistakes on their growth journeys, but hearing from entrepreneurs who have tripped up on the way to success can save them from unnecessary aggro. Here you’ll hear from a panel of specialists and startups including former Northern Stars regional finalist Shopappy.
Even if you’re not thinking of raising investment to take your startup to the next level now, you may need extra cash to evolve your product or extend your team in the future. Delivered by Yorkshire VC firm Venturian, this session will cover what overseeing an equity raise requires, including your various options and their individual pros and cons.
One for founders and aspiring entrepreneurs alike, this event celebrates the launch of Prolifiko founder Bec Evans’ book ‘How to Have a Happy Hustle: the complete guide to making your ideas happen’. At it, you’ll receive tips on how to find time to work on new ideas (and get them into the world); find your first ‘fans’ and grow an audience; bounce back from setbacks and failure; and most importantly of all keeping your chin up when the chips are down.
Whether you’re just starting or scaling a business, take this opportunity to have a sit down and a chat with a professional services expert. Topics covered include accessing finance (from seed capital to exit); business plans (they’ll run through yours with a fine tooth-comb); international expansion, and compliance and scaling.
The 1-Page Marketing Strategy: simplify and focus your marketing
Developed a great product? Can’t figure out a marketing strategy? Held by international marketer and business development adviser Alun Davies, this session will show you how to streamline your marketing strategy and condense it into a single, fathomable page.
Expanding internationally can be a daunting prospect, and it can help to talk to people who have successfully scaled overseas. If you’re thinking about targeting the Chinese market, this session promises to inform you about aspects such as: mergers and acquisition opportunities with Chinese investment; legal advice when doing business in China; trading opportunities in the country; and how to sell cross border e-commerce solutions.
Funding 4.0: The State of Funding in Leeds City Region
Founders will be able to both learn and contribute their own knowledge at this workshop, which will oversee a mapping exercise designed to reveal the existing funding support for startups and scaleups within the Leeds City Region.
There’s no more suitable venue than Leeds’ Open Data Institute for this event, which in the morning promises to inspire you with a series of talks from “some of the most creative and innovative voices in data and startups from the North of England and the Netherlands”. Stick around for the afternoon for a series of hands-on technical demos on everything from data visualisation and ethics to AI, innovation and machine learning.
If you’re keen to hear some ‘warts and all’ stories of raising investment from entrepreneurs who have founded and exited startups, this is the event for you. Expect to tick acronyms and words such as ‘SEIS/EIS’, ‘angel investment’, ‘institutional investment’ and ‘tax breaks’ off your proverbial funding bingo card.
Chatbots were a hot trend in 2018, and your startup can still benefit from coding one. In this session BJSS will take you through what chatbots are, what you can use them for, and how to make one work for you.
Corporate collaboration on the brain? This session will connect startups and scaleups with decision-makers from corporates, brands, SMEs and NGOs to explore collaboration opportunities, alongisde the chance to pitch for funding.
While this isn’t a Leeds Digital Festival event, Suits & Vinyl is a business networking evening with a twist that’s ran by local accountants Garbutt & Elliott, who have close ties with the festival. Held at the wonderful Northern Guitars café bar for the first time, it doesn’t require you to wear a suit and you can take a vinyl record or two to be spun by a DJ. Expect to ‘get down’ to a heady dose of rock, punk and cheese from all genres from days gone by – and you may make a new contact or two in the process.
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