A session looking at how the regions can share a bigger chunk of the UK’s prosperity found that Leeds has developed a great role model for other cities.
Director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, said: “It’s really interesting what’s happening in Leeds. Tech companies are moving out of London to Leeds and they are attracting graduates and keeping them in Leeds.
“There is a great quality of life in Leeds.”
However the panel said that poor rail links between cities like Sheffield and Leeds are holding back the regions and further investment is needed.
“Travel between Sheffield and Leeds - I do not recommend it,” said Ms Fairbairn.
She added that cities outside London are changing rapidly and there is mass movement to cities as the UK becomes more urbanised.
In addition cities outside London need to think globally when they make their investment plans.
“We need to think about competition,” she told CBI delegates.
“It’s not just Leeds competing with Manchester, it’s Leeds competing with Stuttgart.”
She added that cities need to make the most of their universities. Yorkshire has a rich pool of talent with universities in Leeds, Sheffield and York seen as some of the most progressive in the country. The panel said it is vital that cities maintain a “great relationship” with their high quality universities.
The CBI said that one of the most significant changes in cities outside London is the quality of their leadership, praising Leeds alongside Manchester and Cardiff.