Earlier today Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership announced its new board members. They are as follows:
Neil McLean, DLA Piper (Chair)
John Parkin, Chief Executive, Leeds Bradford International Airport
Stephen Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer of CPP Group, York
Mark Ridgeway, Managing Director of Group Rhodes, Wakefield
Stephanie Burras, Chief Executive, Leeds Ahead
Gary Jones, Chairman, MSA Engineering Systems Ltd & Heights Group, Halifax
Paul Hamer, Chief Executive Officer, WYG Group, Leeds
Brian Cantor, Vice Chancellor, University of York
Gary Lumby, Director of Small Business Banking, Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks
Leeds, Cllr Keith Wakefield
Bradford, Cllr Ian Greenwood
Kirklees, Cllr Mehboob Khan
Wakefield, Cllr Peter Box
Calderdale, Cllr Janet Battye
York, Cllr Andrew Waller
North Yorkshire, Cllr John Weighell
Harrogate, Cllr Mike Gardner
Everyone in these chambers sincerely and profusely congratulates those members and wishes them the best of British luck.
Having wished the team well we can't help reflecting that local enterprise partnerships are supposed to "drive sustainable economic growth and create the conditions for private sector job growth in their communities". The board has only one woman from the business side and one from the local authorities. Even though some of the best young entrepreneurs that this county has produced are of South Asian heritage the only representative of those communities is Mehboob Khan who is, of course, leader of Kirklees metropolitan borough council. There is nobody from the creative, electronics, food and drink, hospitality, media or software industries even though Yorkshire is strong in all those industries.
So who would we have? Young entrepreneurs like Ajaz Amjad who has already served on the board of Yorkshire Forward. Ideas men like Imran Ali. Catalysts like Linda Broughton who have united business and education at the NTI. Instead of a banker how about Steve Waud who heads the CDFA, the financial institutions that actually assist small businesses rather than trip them up. Possibly someone from an incubator like Brent Woods of the Huddersfield Media Centre. We could go on.