Collaboration brings benefits to business at every level, say bosses

Collaboration between businesses, universities and other public bodies is vital to the success of any company, a collection of business experts from Yorkshire have said.

Round table event at Bond Dickinson, Whitehall Riverside, Leeds..12th October 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

A round table discussion hosted jointly by law firm Bond Dickinson and The Yorkshire Post heard numerous examples of collaborative working from a range of business leaders.

One banking leader said that the rise of fintech and challenger banks had forced his and other large scale banks to collaborate more widely while all assembled agreed that universities and business leaders should work together more closely for the benefit of students as well as their respective organisations.

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Pete Sumners, director of corporate structure finance at Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, said that recent innovations in disruptive lending technology has meant that the banking sector at large had had to admit it did not have the technology to offer certain services and as such was forced to work with fintech companies: “In terms of banking, not just CYBG, collaboration has been forced on us by competition.

“I am regularly in competition with funds that I had never heard of before. There has been an incredible rise in peer to peer lending and for example I am facing competition from PayPal who have started to offer business funding, which very few people are aware of.

“It seems every few months a new innovative fund jumps into the market place. If you take Atom Bank, it is probably fair to say that three or four years ago we as a bank would have discounted them. But their rate of growth has been phenomenal and their technology is particularly good and they have started to go into business banking.

“So that need to collaborate has been forced on us to survive.”

Simon Pilling, partner at Bond Dickinson, agreed that the rise of artificial intelligence had meant professional services had needed to change their business model but that there was still a need for skilled lawyers in all ends of the process.

“Gone are the days where you had 20 paralegals poring over 400 leases. You can probably put that stuff through a machine and within a matter of hours you have got your report. That will drive good change, it will drive lower costs for people and should allow us to be more profitable.”

Sparta Global technical director, Harvey Whitford, spoke at length about how universities had a responsibility to their students to connect them with the local economy.

“For a student when you are choosing what university you are going to go to that has got to be part of your decision as you are going to exit with £30,000 of debt, and universities that can highlight that they have got partnerships with businesses, placements and internships and agreements to get people pushed forward for those particular roles has got to be part of that decision-making process. It creates a talent pipeline concept.

“Businesses and universities have got to create this.”

This view was supported by Leeds Beckett University’s head of enterprise Simon Baldwin who said his university was looking to forge links for co-operation throughout the region on a pro-active basis.

Dominic Gibbons, chief executive of Hull-based Wykeland Group, said the collaboration seen between business in Hull in the wake of recent regeneration projects, most of it tied to the City of Culture process, had brought businesses far closer together.

Talking about the development his business had carried out in the Fruit Market area, he said: “As businesses it is very important that you do have a social awareness. A business should not be in its own little isolated area.”

Elsewhere Gordon Gunn, director of marketing at Sylatech in Kirby Moorside, spoke about the importance of rural businesses whereas Nuala Gallagher, head of communications at Metalysis on the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Rotherham, said that the company had hugely benefited from the collegiate and co-operative culture that existed at the facility.