Leeds City Region, The North & Cognitiv


Cognitiv was established in April this year as the voice of the creative, digital and IT sector across the Wakefield district. Our ambition is to provide opportunities to collaborate, to represent our members on issues that affect them and to promote our sector to the wider community.


However, in achieving this we also have to be mindful of the wider context and what’s happening around us, particularly in the well-established creative and digital communities that exist in Leeds, Sheffield and beyond.

Local government is fast becoming interconnected through organisations such as the Leeds City Region and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

In the digital space, TechUK - the organisation which pioneered London’s Silicon Roundabout in the East End, is now tasked with devising the strategy to connect the UK’s digital hubs. They’re now looking at the North and how our digital industries can work together to add value to the wider UK offer.

Cognitiv committee members Dan Conboy and Graham Howarth have recently attended numerous meetings on this subject. It’s been acknowledged by many that Leeds, and its wider city region - including Wakefield, have real success stories in the digital economy, but that the region lacks a cohesive narrative to market itself.

It was felt that Leeds needed a clear USP, in a similar way in which Manchester has a clear specialism in media. Upon analysis, it appears that Leeds is particularly talented in the field of data, being home to some of the UK’s largest databases and companies who specialise in aggregating and analysing data.

Data is a growing and important part of the economy. Being specialists in this field is a real opportunity and could attract further inward investment.

As Cognitiv, we feel it’s important that we’re very much involved in this conversation. As a part of the Leeds City Region, we believe that anything that helps to promote the development of our sector can strengthen our members. More investment, more infrastructure and a more vibrant creative/digital community is good for Wakefield, good for Yorkshire and good for the North.

Having said that, we are still mindful that a strategy for the Wakefield district is at the heart of what Cognitiv stands for. We will continue to connect our district’s creative, digital and IT businesses through our events, represent our members on issues like skills and do all we can to raise awareness of the quality of talent that exists within our area.

The future ahead is undoubtedly about connectivity; we must be part of the Leeds City Region and Northern Digital Hub conversation and be beneficiaries of the advantages that this will bring. Equally, we must continue to remain close to our Wakefield district mission to create and support more businesses in our sector, encouraging Wakefield’s young people to join us in their careers, while showcasing to the wider community the excellence we have to offer them.

It’s an exciting time ahead.