The district’s corporate community gathered at Valley Parade yesterday for the third annual Bradford Business Conference. Representatives from firms and organisations including Leeds/Bradford International Airport, Napoleons Casino, Sovereign Healthcare, Associated Waste Management and Bradford Chamber of Commerce attended the conference.
The event featured more than 50 firms and ‘clinics’ offering information and advice, attracting hundreds of delegates. Discussions, seminars and presentations were held on a host of business-related topics such as networking with the Bradford Chamber of Commerce. Other subjects under the spotlight were social networking, apprenticeships and building a brand.
The business future of the city was mulled over with the ‘Bradford: What Next?’ seminar. It explored the business possibilities of the city and also the plans for the Broadway Westfield shopping centre, due to open in December next year. It is estimated the shopping centre will attract nine million visitors to Bradford each year. Other questions discussed included whether Bradford is ambitious enough and what perceptions people from outside Yorkshire have of the city. Marc Green, Bradford Bulls chairman, who was one of the seminar’s speakers, said: “Bradford is on the cusp. “You can grab the bull by the horns as business owners. Bradford has a lot to shout about but has focused on the bad more than the good.”
Paul Mackie, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said: “Bradford has got to move at pace and at focus. It’s a good concept that Bradford could be known as a producer city. Bradford has come alive and got it’s city working. It is in transition at the moment. We need to get our image right. We are starting to believe in ourselves more than we have done.”
The conference was organised by the Bradford-based Yorkshire Enterprise Network, in association with the Telegraph & Argus. An Invest in Bradford clinic, showing how to access Bradford Council’s £35 million City Centre Growth Zone, also took place. Most types of business can benefit from signing up, with the deadline for grants, of up to £160,000, on March 31 next year.
Sheraz Malik, director of Yorkshire Enterprise Network and conference organiser, said: “Today has been about procurement for Bradford business. It’s about carrying on after they have left this conference.”