Tech Delights: Unveiling the Experience of Leeds Digital Festival 2023

Leeds Digital Festival has joined together an environment filled with individuals who all share the same interest; digital culture, and how to navigate your way through it. The events within the festivals took place in different settings such as auditoriums, to vibrant hubs, and outdoors.

On Monday morning, the team at Aire Street Studio attended BJSS. Their mission was to capture captivating shots of the remarkable conversation between Paul Scully, the Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, and Debbie Forster, the CEO of Tech Talent Charter. With their keen eye for detail, photographers Mark Wheelwright and Maddie Armstrong swiftly and skillfully captured candid shots from various angles, capturing not only the press but also the engaged audience. The event proved to be an enlightening and informative experience, as valuable knowledge was shared with the eager audience.

On Tuesday morning, tech enthusiasts gathered at the anticipated event “Tech Tuesday: Grow Your Business,” hosted by Bruntwood SciTech. This event was a treasure trove of valuable information for individuals, whether they were just starting out or already deeply involved in the industry. Attendees were treated to a wealth of key insights and strategies to help them navigate the ever-evolving tech landscape and achieve growth in their businesses.

Following this session is the event “How to Sell your Technology Business” where industry experts share their expertise on the intricacies of successfully selling a technology-based company. Participants gained valuable knowledge and considerations involved in this complex process, empowering them to make informed decisions about the future of their businesses.

But the learning didn’t stop there! The event afterwards also provided a unique opportunity to pick the brains of two influential figures in the tech industry: Rom Riordan and Clare Barclay. Their perspectives on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities, without a double had the audience inspired and motivated to take their businesses to a new level!

There were other engaging sessions held during the festival, including “Digital Dinners - How to Build a High Performing Tech Team!” Hosted by Rachel Mcelroy and featuring a distinguished cross-sector panel, this session delved into the process of building high-performing technology teams that prioritise the customer-centric experience and deliver adaptable services with measurable outcomes. Following this, there was the event “MIND OVER META” (get it?) the next day, which emphasised the vitality of taking care of one’s well-being while navigating the digital world. This event provided attendees with an opportunity to prioritize their mental, physical, and financial well-being, enabling them to succeed in all perspectives (which is needed to be talked about in such an industry!).

Other events were also exceptional, including the event “Demystifying the Barriers for Women in Tech” with photographers Mark Wheelwright and Erin attending. Hosted by Leeds Building Society, this event centralises on the challenges that women in tech roles have faced over, I kid you not, decades! This event aimed  to explore specific barriers and discuss ways to remove them. In collaboration with WILD (Women in Leeds Digital), Leeds Building Society hosted a panel discussion featuring women who have faced and overcome certain issues, sharing their experiences and empowering other women in their tech careers. 

Mark and Maddie had the opportunity to attend an informative event hosted by Generation UK & Ireland. The event titled “Attracting, Employing and Retaining Diverse Talent” aimed to explore the common themes that occur at each stage of an applicant’s employment journey. The hosts of the event ensured that there was representation from each key function in the Generation machine. The panel event was a great opportunity for attendees to learn about what businesses need to consider to attract, employ and retain diverse talent. As an added bonus, attendees also got to hear directly from a Generation bootcamp graduate about how their experience has supported their personal and professional development. The event also included an informal drinks reception and networking opportunity with Generation staff and guests. Overall, Mark and Maddie left the event feeling inspired and equipped with valuable knowledge that they could apply to their work!

There was also the Female Founders Incubator Launch, hosted by Bruntwood SciTech, which was an exciting event that not only provided a platform for female entrepreneurs but also brought together a diverse group of successful business leaders, mentors, and partners (the energy in there was nothing but empowering, might I add). This event marked the beginning of an uplifting program aimed at supporting and nurturing the growth of women-led startups in Leeds and Manchester. Attendees had the invaluable opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, network with industry professionals, and gain insights from experienced mentors who generously dedicated their time to this remarkable initiative. 

The Leeds Digital Festival proved to be a resounding success for both hosts and attendees alike, offering a multitude of benefits that extended far beyond the confines of a typical tech event. By providing a platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and the celebration of digital culture, the festival fostered an environment of collaboration and innovation.

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