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Prestigious tech awards officially launched and shortlist announced

One of Yorkshire’s most respected and recognised awards, The Leeds Digital Festival Awards, was officially launched at a dinner recently which brought together the region's finest tech talent.

Organised in partnership with Ward Hadaway and Amsource, a specialist recruitment consultancy in the tech space, the awards highlight the success of digital businesses in Leeds and the wider region.

Bill Goodwin (Ward Hadaway), Stuart Clarke (Leeds Digital Festival), Andrew Maeer (Amsource), Tracy Brabin (Mayor of West Yorkshire) & Eve Roodhouse (Chief Officer Culture and Economy, Leeds).

The dinner celebrated the strong growth of start-ups, SMEs and larger businesses, commending the innovation, dynamism and expertise of the region’s thriving technology sector with high profile guests in attendance including Steve Birch, Sky Betting and Gaming’s CEO and Saile Villegas, Director, SeeAI.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, who also attended the dinner, said: “The investment into the digital sector in Yorkshire is phenomenal and it really shows how unique this part of the world is when it comes to providing the type of environment and infrastructure tech businesses need to thrive and prosper. Leeds has the fastest scaleup growth in the North of England and we must champion this and the homegrown talent that has opened international doors to further progression. We have countries from across the globe investing in Yorkshire tech businesses and that’s down to the diverse range of talented people from the region who enjoy working and living here. I’m proud to have met so many exciting and ambitious businesses who are fundamental to attracting new people and their skills to the region.”

The award categories are designed to recognise digital businesses who have truly made an impact, accelerated their growth, innovated through creating and delivering a new product or service or provided a great workplace where employees can thrive not just professionally but personally too.

Andrew Maeer, CEO, Amsource, said: “We’re well aware of the skills shortage facing the UK generally, and the digital sector has also felt the impact. However, the gathering of so many tech businesses and their highly skilled people in one room highlights the level of creativity and talent that is truly alive and kicking across Yorkshire. We need to use this to our advantage; ensure we create strong links with the wonderful universities on our doorstep and nurture the next generation of tech professionals. It’s fantastic to meet so many brilliant digital businesses and learn about the success they’ve achieved.”

The shortlisted companies include Content Catalyst, a Leeds-based tech firm that builds market-leading software solutions, in the International Award as well as IT consultancy, Burendo, who are nominated in both the International category and Growth Company of the Year category. Data management specialists The Data Shed has also been nominated for two awards, Tech4Good and Best Place to Work.

Bill Goodwin, Head of IP/IT at Ward Hadaway Leeds said: “The dinner provided a great opportunity to showcase how much business the region’s tech firms do internationally, attracting global investment to the North of England. We need to do more to raise the profile of Yorkshire-based digital firms and their work that is putting England on the international stage when it comes to innovative and progressive tech development. These awards encapsulate the quality we have right here on our doorstep – and every business who entered should be applauded.”

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 29th September at Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds City centre at a ticketed event that is free to attend.

Stuart Clarke, director of the Leeds Digital Festival, which celebrates digital culture in all forms and manages the annual awards, added: “Now in its fourth year, the Leeds Digital Festival Awards brings together the city’s premium digital talent and rewards them for their innovation and ambition whether that’s in terms of their growth, product, customer experience or how they treat their people. This year, we’ve added a couple of new categories to recognise triumph during such turbulent times as well as the International Award to celebrate the global prowess of Yorkshire-based firms. The finalists thoroughly deserve their place on the shortlist, and we wish everyone the best of luck for the final.”

To read the full shortlist of companies nominated for a Leeds Digital Festival Award, visit: https://leedsdigitalfestivalawards.org/nominees

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