Business Diary: April 10

Yorkshire entrepreneur Martin Port has weighed into the debate surrounding elected mayors, declaring that Leeds would benefit from having its own Boris Johnson-type figure.

The Leeds businessman, who is best known for founding and selling the market-leading telematics firm Masternaut UK, bumped into the Mayor of London during a recent trip to the capital.

Mr Port told Diary: “I really like him and what he has achieved in London. He is great ambassador. All the tourists know him. He is like Ed Koch, the former Mayor of New York City who I met when I was selling bread in NYC in 1987, who also has a great personality.”

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Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield hold referenda on the question of elected mayors on May 3.

Mr Port added: “I think we should have a mayor. We need a local leader fighting our cause nationally and internationally. Not just a ceremonial person, we need an elected charismatic person, not a boring council officer.”

Marathon man gets back on track

ONE marathon would be more than enough for most people.

But fresh from taking on 12 marathons in six months, company director David Elliott has raised the bar by pledging to run from Yeovil in Somerset to Huddersfield Town’s ground. His latest challenge covers 260 miles and works out at one marathon a day for 10 days.

The founder of Huddersfield motorhome maker Wellhouse Leisure starts running on April 26 and hopes to make it in time for Huddersfield’s last game of the season on May 5 against Yeovil.

Mr Elliott said he decided to take on the challenge when Huddersfield Town commercial director Sean Jarvis suggested he join the annual cycle ride to the last game of the season.

“I joking replied ‘I would rather run it’,” said Mr Elliott. “Although I have done lots of marathons before I have never done anything like this. God did not intend me to run.”

He hopes to arrive at Huddersfield Town with the cyclists at 2.30pm on May 5. The challenge is in aid of the Keep It Up campaign for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Shouting quietly

Public relations can be a tricky business when you’re limited in what you can say.

Sheffield-based university research commercialiser Fusion IP recently informed the stock market of a “significant” licence deal around an endocrine treatment, which could earn it £1m a year at its peak.

The deal uses intellectual property which was developed at the University of Sheffield.

But exactly what the agreement with the unnamed pharmaceutical giant entails must remain a mystery for commercial reasons, according to Fusion chief executive David Baynes.

“We had to make it a rubbish release about a company we couldn’t name, about a product we couldn’t tell you what it is,” he admits.

“But if it all goes to plan it looks quite good.

“It’s about £1m a year for Fusion and £1m a year for the university.”

Scouting for talent

It may not make primetime TV viewing just yet, but according to the industry body the EEF, “manufacturing’s got talent”.

The Engineering Employers’ Federation has just launched a search to find the UK’s best manufacturers.

Yorkshire firms of all sizes, plus talented apprentices, are being encouraged to enter the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards. EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said: “UK manufacturers achieve greatness, yet rarely step into the limelight.

“Our awards, now in the fourth year, celebrate the outstanding achievements of our diverse manufacturing sector and the talented young apprentices who are shaping the future.

“The awards underline the dynamic manufacturing industry that we can all be proud of, which is steering economic recovery.”

The EEF awards are free to enter, with ten categories and regional and national finals.

The award culminate in January with the national ceremony.

Professor Steve Evans of the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, who chairs the judges, said: “The EEF Awards expose the outstanding business performance and drive behind our industry, and it’s these success stories that demonstrate the important role of manufacturing in a balanced economy.

“We encourage businesses to share their experiences and wisdom with EEF by entering the awards in 2012.”

Entries close on July 20.