Leeds River Aire

River Aire waterfront in Leeds

Global firms back Leeds' European Capital of Culture bid

Three more high profile businesses have lent their support and financial backing to Leeds' bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023, giving the bid an additional £100,000 funding boost as it meets with 4,000 delegates at the annual Buy Yorkshire conference.

Smart telecommunications business, aql, based in the city’s developing South Bank, are powering the city’s fast developing technology, mobile and data scene, and are joined by international legal practice Squire Patton Boggs in supporting the city’s ambitious bid for the European Capital of Culture crown.

Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 Independent Steering Group said: “The support from the business community in the city demonstrates our strong commitment to winning this for Leeds and the wider region. Over the last twelve months we have worked hard to bring the city together and are delighted that aql, Squire Patton Boggs and Turner & Townsend are joining the efforts to make Leeds the winning city in this race.”

Servicing global names in banking, retail, logistics and health, aql have also pioneered the creation of the main internet hub outside of London which has catalysed the growth of digital business in and around the city and play an active role in the growing digital community.

aql CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont, said: "As a global operator based in Leeds, we need to be able to attract the right talent to allow us to build and maintain world-class communication services. The Leeds 2023 bid is an aspiration to celebrate and broaden the cultural offering in the region. We're proud to support this drive to send a message that the quality of life and the cultural offer in Leeds and Yorkshire is second to none.”

The last UK city to hold the title was almost a decade ago in Liverpool. The Liverpool 2008 year as European Capital of Culture created a £750m boost for the local economy and attracted 9.7 million visitors to the city.

The announcement comes as the bid team join 3,000 delegates at the annual Buy Yorkshire Conference at Royal Armouries. Now in its 7th year the two-day conference and exhibition will feature more than 185 exhibitors and bring together businesses from across the region to hear from top executives of companies including Lego, Deliveroo, Amazon, Channel 4 and Uber.

John Alderton, managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs in Leeds, adds: “We are delighted to support the Leeds 2023 bid.  As a law firm with a long history in the city, and with offices across the world, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to showcase the eclectic cultural offering that the city has to offer on an international stage.  We are looking forward to being part of an initiative that will generate tourism and economic growth whilst ensuring further regeneration and development for the city.”  

The trio of supporters join the likes of Yorkshire Building Society, Yorkshire Water and Yorkshire Bank in backing the bid, support which has enabled the city to create a bold new brand for the bid, support artists, creators and makers to create an exciting programme of events, festivals and installations to build momentum for the bid and reach out to influential partners across Europe.

The Leeds 2023 bid team will be meeting businesses at stand 144 throughout the conference. Visit them directly or for more information on the bid visit: www.leeds2023.co.uk