Digital skills coaching session – Scarborough, 2 May

A Google Digital Garage event is set to be held at CU Scarborough, part of the Coventry University Group, on Wednesday May 2. The event, which is the only one in the county, has been organised by Yorkshire in Business and will provide essential information to help businesses succeed online.

Training will be delivered by specialist business advisers who will provide digital skills coaching including how to build a digital marketing plan, an introduction to digital advertising and how to use Google analytics. Yorkshire in Business has been providing business start-up advice and support for more than 30 years along the Yorkshire coast. The event is part of Google Digital Garage on Tour, which has seen workshops held in major towns and cities across the UK including Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Jennifer Crowther, Head of Operations at Yorkshire in Business, said: “It is a great achievement to bring Google to offer this analytics training in the area. This is a fantastic opportunity for all those who are self-employed and running local businesses to develop their marketing skills and knowledge provided by Google themselves. Yorkshire in Business couldn’t provide this without the support from CU Scarborough.”

Tina Steele, Employer Engagement & Business Development Manager at CU Scarborough, said: “It is excellent to welcome Yorkshire in Business to CU Scarborough to deliver a Google Digital Garage workshop providing free support and advice to businesses across the area. Being successful online is essential in today’s modern business world, and the session will help those attending gain new skills and make the most out of the technology available to them. It will also be a good opportunity to meet with likeminded businesspeople and entrepreneurs. CU Scarborough is committed to helping grow the local economy, and this is just one of the ways we are connecting with and supporting businesses in the area. I would urge anyone looking for digital support to come along.”

The session will be held from 10am to 1.30pm and places can be booked here. Further information can be found by emailing


Museum breaks through half-million visitor barrier

Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, Bradford’s National Science & Media Museum attraction welcomed 505,000 visits, compared to 405,000 for the same period in 2016/17—a 25% increase, year-on-year.

Highlights from the past 12 months include the museum re-branding to focus on the science and culture of image and sound technology, opening a new permanent gallery—Wonderlab—and exhibiting Tim Peake’s spacecraft.

Director Jo Quinton-Tulloch said:

“We’re delighted that our hard work over recent years, which culminated in the launch of our new brand last March, along with a packed programme of new events and activities, has been so well received. It is an ongoing process, but we couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to our new chapter.

“We’ve worked more closely with colleagues in the Science Museum Group, our partners in the district and beyond, and we’ve listened to our visitors. As a result we now have a solid foundation for the future, and we’ve demonstrated the appetite for a dynamic, science-focused attraction here in the heart of Bradford.

“It hasn’t been an easy road to get to this point, but hopefully these figures show that we’re set for success in the long run. Rest assured we won’t be sitting back now.”

The museum’s programme for 2018 includes the major summer family exhibition Action Replay, an interactive exploration of the link between broadcasting technology in Britain and sports. From the earliest television and radio outside broadcasts, to the introduction of colour TV for the 1967 Wimbledon championships, and right up to current innovations such as ‘Ref Cams’, Action Replay will feature some of the key technological advancements that have been bringing fans closer to the sports they love over the past century.

Also in the summer, the museum will again organise the Bradford Science Festival, which last year saw 35,000 people engage with science-themed activities delivered by numerous partners and other organisations across the city centre.

In the long term the museum continues to focus on Sound and Vision, a major permanent gallery which will showcase the treasures of its collection—history-making objects that have changed how people see the world, from the first movie camera and some of the earliest photography and television equipment, to the explosion in internet streaming and social media.

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

Bradford Property Forum – Wed 18 April, 8-9.45am

The changing role of city centres – a market perspective on emerging trends

When: 8-9.45am; Wed 18 April 2018

Where: Bradford City FC, Valley Parade, BD8 7DZ

What: Emerging office/retail trends and their likely impact on Bradford

Who: Cushman & Wakefield; property developer;

This session will look at the key trends/future outlook for property market sectors and the implications for Bradford.

Top international property firm, Cushman & Wakefield, has a national Futures Group looking at exactly this and are advising clients on themes around the future of retailing and e-commerce, especially those linked to technological/cultural shifts and co-working trends.

C&W’s Ben Pretty and Stephen Miles will deliver the latest information on this.

Other contributions, including another private sector property developer and Bradford Council, have been invited to take part.

To book, call 01274 206660 or email

Cost: £15 Chamber members (£30 non-members)

Poor mobile connectivity? Let us know

Businesses are being asked to provide details of where there is current poor mobile phone connectivity.

The Chamber network across the UK is launching a campaign that will bring together business communities and those involved in delivering mobile networks to identify coverage challenges and work through solutions to improve poor mobile connectivity.

‘Not-spots’ and areas of partial ‘not-spots’ hamper businesses across our region. A recent British Chambers of Commerce survey found that 21% of firms say the UK mobile phone network doesn’t meet their needs.  Accessing new and existing customers, suppliers and employees were cited as issues.  Despite investment in geographic coverage for voice and text, not-spots still exist, even in dense commercial centres.

As an example, a major employer in the area said: “Our office is at a modern business park, three miles from the centre. The coverage for the major network that we use is patchy, at best. On the ground floor, it is non-existent. Upstairs, we receive a low-grade 4G signal most of the time.

“An example of how this affects us is this: before we had our Wi-Fi up and running, a client wanted to organise a call via Skype. As we don’t run Skype on our desktop network, I had to sit outside in the car park, where there was at least some signal, to conduct the conference on my mobile. The clients were in London and the USA.  This does not present our region as a credible place to do business.

“In addition, our business involves travelling to see clients or moving between office locations.  On several occasion, I have been frustrated when speaking on the mobile, particularly north / north east of York, where I often only get ‘one bar’ of signal.  The signal can also be very inconsistent and making a call on the move can become a frustrating series of ‘dropped’ calls.

“This is incompatible with a business environment that expects and encourages flexible working, and where clients want their advisers being available whether sitting at their desk or not. We are often told that York is at the forefront of business connectivity and in the centre that’s probably true. However, one does not have to travel far to discover ‘black holes’ and ‘not-spots’ causing major inconvenience and an obstacle to fully embracing modern business practices.”

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has more examples from across the area from companies facing similar problems.

Our campaign will be constructive and focused on solutions. While we’ll press for investment and services improvements, we will work with mobile operators and all parties with a stake in getting this right across the UK. Working together, business, communities and operators can identify key gaps in coverage and find shared solutions to resolve the real-world connection problems many business communities face.

Businesses are asked to get in touch with the Chamber here, and share your experiences of poor connectivity.  Information will be used in mapping out areas where mobile phone signal coverage is unreliable as part of the national campaign.


Funding for IT upgrades

Grants for websites, ecommerce and IT projects

Funding is available to help businesses upgrade their IT connectivity.

The Government has launched a ‘Gigabit Voucher Scheme’, with up to £3,000 for firms in West Yorkshire Combined Authority area (which includes York).  The scheme is being delivered locally by Chamber member Exa Networks – more information, including terms and conditions and how to apply, available here.

(NOTE: Those who have received funding within the last three years are ineligible to apply.)

Cyber-Crime: Protect Your Business

New mobile broadband checker

Cyber-crime is now rife. It cost the UK economy £10 billion last year.  Are you doing everything you can to protect your business from the risks?

Check out these (external) survey figures:

  • 25% of the public feel they have a only limited understanding of online risks
  • 68% of the public have been targeted in some way
    • 53% received fraudulent emails or messages directing them to websites where key information could be stolen
    • More than one-third (38%) said the matter was too trivial to report and that nothing could be done anyway
  • Nearly half use the same password for multiple accounts, with many failing to heed advice on this when prompted.
  • People use an average nine passwords across devices and accounts
  • People update security software every 8½ months but 20% don’t do this at all
  • A quarter never update social media privacy settings; half don’t know how to
  • A third don’t back up documents and photographs.

With thanks to Packetts Insurance Brokers who are sponsoring this event, Gary Hibberd, MD of agenci, will speak to Bradford Professionals’ Network.  Come along and network, and make sure you don’t get caught out by this rapidly rising and damaging threat to your business.

When: Tues 6 June 2017

Where: Exa Networks, 100 Bolton Road, Bradford BD1 4DE

What: Protecting your business from cyber-crime

Who: Gary Hibberd, MD at agenci

Cost: £15 inc VAT – Chamber members; £30 – non-members

Book now here



Technology funding available

A new scheme is offering up to £10,000 of funding to SMEs using digital technology to support business growth.

The ‘Digital Enterprise’ scheme works by the company applying for digital growth vouchers which need match-funding from the business in equal value.

The vouchers can be used to buy IT and telecoms hardware, software or upgrades to current digital connectivity.  Businesses need to demonstrate the anticipated economic impact of the investment by showing business growth by an increase in jobs or turnover.

The scheme is live from January 2017, and more information is available by contacting the Chamber here.

Techno-Congress at University

Representatives from universities will converge on the University of Bradford for the first World Technology Universities Congress.

The event takes place at the University’s Emm Lane and Richmond Road campuses on 8-9 September 2016 with an extensive programme. It aims to create a global partnership between education, business, governments and development organisations.

The Congress will consider the creation of a World Technology Universities Network and suitable terms of reference, plus how to create opportunities to showcase joint working.

If a core number of universities are in agreement, a statement of intent to develop the Network will be signed.  The Congress will provide a platform for senior figures from higher education, business and government to develop alliances and discuss capacity-building opportunities. It will also consider the importance of educating graduates to be global citizens in a technology-rich 21st Century.

Read more here.

Bacs upgrade to improve security

In response to security risks, more advanced levels of internet security are being introduced that might have implications if you are using Bacs payments.

From 13 June 2016, Bacs will withdraw support for older connection protocols and only support TLS 1.1 and 1.2. Firms using Bacs will need to have a web browser, operating system, and Bacs Approved Software Solution that supports the changes.

You may be unable to use Bacs to pay wages or suppliers, or use direct debit, if you do not make the necessary changes; and those using Payment Services Website to collect reports will also need to make the upgrades.

Further information here.