Interview with Councillor James Lewis of Leeds


Small Business: At The Cutting Edge of Innovation

“Small businesses are often at the forefront of innovation and hence are critical for our future growth”, says James Lewis, Councillor for Kippax and Methley Ward at Leeds City Council. Here, we find out a little more about the role that small businesses play in our future economy and why he believes Leeds and London’s entrepreneurs are perfectly matched.

What do you think small businesses bring to the economy, and do you think it is beneficial?

Small businesses (those employing less than 50 employees) make up 97.6% of the Leeds business stock with a further 1.9% being medium sized businesses. Small businesses provide a significant number of employment opportunities and much of our future economic growth is dependent on having a vibrant and successful small business sector. Small businesses are often at the forefront of innovation and hence are critical for our future growth.

What do you think are the benefits of building relationships with businesses in London?

Leeds strongly compliments the London economy. The city reflects many of London’s economic characteristics including a strong financial and legal services sector and a dynamic tech and digital industry. Both cities are at the cutting-edge of innovation within many of these sectors, boosted by local specialisms in the digital sector. Emerging sectors which have a strong prominence in both cities includes digi-health, data analytics, fintech and cyber security.

It is essential to develop a shared agenda for growth between the regions and London and the South East. A growing London works more effectively in cooperation with other regions to drive countrywide growth. Addressing imbalances in regional economic performance in the UK will significantly improve national prospects. In developing a common growth agenda, the prize is substantial. If all British cities were as productive as the greater south east, the national economy would be over £200bn larger, according to the CBI.


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James Lewis

Councillor for Kippax and Methley Ward

Leeds City Council

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