Debate centred on ways to make it easier for businesses to use the expertise and resources of universities in Yorkshire.
Organisers highlighted the University of Leeds's work with Slipstream Energy Ltd and Leeds Metropolitan University's work with the Getting Sorted enterprise at the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education as two of the region's flagship partnerships.
Experts at the university's Faculty of Engineering helped Slipstream transform the aerodynamic performance of its innovative wind turbine, which will save an estimated 135 tonnes of carbon.
The company is now working with blue chip companies keen to install renewable technologies.
Rosie Winterton, Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber, used the occasion last week to launch a new government report which outlines the role of the region's universities in encouraging economic growth.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson commissioned the report, which was researched and compiled by a partnership between Yorkshire's universities and the regional development agency. Ms Winterton said: "We must build on this collaboration to get the most from the wide range of skills and expertise in our region and to ensure our place in an increasingly competitive global economy."
Simon Hill, the executive director for business at Yorkshire Forward, said: "This partnership has led to the creation of the Centres of Industrial Collaboration which provide a network of sustainable, business focussed centres within the region's universities.
"It has also seen the creation of the Centre for Low Carbon Futures that will no doubt benefit from the recent announcement that Yorkshire and Humber has been named the UK's first Low Carbon Economy Area for Carbon Capture and Storage."
"Because of the close links we have developed between universities and private industry the region can look forward to a future of sustainable employment in sectors that will lead the global fight against climate change and bring employment and prosperity to Yorkshire and Humber."
About 150 business leaders and 100 academics attended the event at the Rose Bowl building in Leeds.