Climbing the Leeds Ladder: Takeaways for Business Leaders from Climb24

Shaun Walsh
Shaun Walsh
14.06.2024  |  5 MIN
Perform Partners attending Climb24

Attending Climb24 at Leeds Dock

I’m fairly certain that all of Leeds gathered at the Docks on June 5th and 6th for Climb24 – I haven’t seen the Docks that busy in years! As a business leader, I found the event’s insights and networking opportunities crucial for fostering growth within our region. For those who couldn’t attend, here are some key highlights and takeaways that may be of value…

What is Climb24?

Climb24, building upon the success of Climb23, brought together over 1,500 delegates, 220 speakers, and 150 active investors. This year’s festival was even more impressive, offering a platform for founders, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders to connect and share insights crucial for business change. And the best thing, it was based in The North….so no red eye trains into Kings Cross!

Presentations at Climb24, Leeds Docks

Key Themes and Insights:

Innovation and Growth

The event featured a diverse range of keynotes, interactive workshops, and panel discussions, providing deep insights into the latest trends and innovations in sectors such as SaaS, CleanTech, AI, and HealthTech. These sessions offered practical advice on adapting to new challenges and leveraging innovation to drive growth. For example, discussions on securing talent and promoting sustainability are directly applicable to our region’s business landscape.

Mental Health and Resilience

A recurring theme throughout the event was the importance of mental health and resilience among founders and entrepreneurs. The focus on providing tools and creating awareness around mental health challenges was a significant highlight. This emphasis on mental well-being is essential for maintaining a sustainable and productive business environment.

Building Ecosystems

The concept of building and navigating different ecosystems was another crucial takeaway – a familiar topic. The discussions highlighted the importance of partnering with the right stakeholders, teams, skills and creating supportive networks. This approach helps businesses thrive by leveraging the right resources and expertise along their growth journey. Engaging in conversation with Bolu Fagborun, who is demonstrating how to walk the talk.

Ethics in AI

One of the panels focused on AI ethics and its implications for businesses. The discussion covered the importance of ethical considerations in the development and deployment of AI technologies, ensuring they benefit society while mitigating risks. This conversation is vital as we move towards an increasingly AI-driven future. Call out to Sherin at AI Tech UK; it’s always insightful and great to see someone else wearing a flat cap.


Highlighted Speakers

Climb24 featured a lineup of notable speakers who shared their expertise and insights:

  • Tanya Arnold, an experienced TV and radio presenter, highlighted the importance of media in shaping public perception and promoting innovative ideas​.
  • Tony Mallett, a Leeds-based teacher, composer, and coach, discussed innovative approaches to education and how gamification can equip young people with critical skills for the future workplace​.
  • Ryan Mathew, an Associate Professor and Consultant Neurosurgeon, provided fascinating insights into cutting-edge medical technologies and their implications for future healthcare​.


Key Takeaways for Business Leaders

Reflecting on my experience at Climb24, here are some key takeaways that stood out to me, which I believe are valuable for any business leader:

Diverse Perspectives: The event’s breadth of topics, from AI and CleanTech to mental health and sustainability, provided a holistic view of the current and future landscape of innovation. Each session was packed with actionable insights and practical advice that can directly impact our business strategies.

Emphasis on Regional Innovation: Climb24 highlighted the potential of regional ecosystems outside of London. This focus on local growth was both refreshing and encouraging, demonstrating the untapped potential within the North of the UK. For business leaders, this means there are significant opportunities to drive change and innovation within our own communities.

Actionable Insights: The practical advice and strategies shared by speakers were immediately applicable. From securing funding to scaling businesses, the knowledge gained from Climb24 will influence our future projects and ventures. This practical approach to innovation and investment is essential for effective business change.

Business Change Initiatives: As someone involved in business change initiatives, Climb24 provided invaluable perspectives on how businesses are struggling to drive effective change and where we can offer of support. The discussions around innovation, collaboration, and investment strategies were directly relevant to our mission of fostering growth and transformation within local businesses. The insights on securing talent is something we understand from our clients’ challenges, and promoting sustainability is something we know well.

Shaun Walsh at Climb24


For those who couldn’t attend Climb24, I recommend staying engaged with the event’s organisers and exploring the resources they provide across their platforms. If you are facing significant change on your roadmap, know we can be of support. Many of the themes of challenges we heard at the event are familiar to us, projects we have helped our clients transition through, supporting them in navigating business and technical change. Some examples here > Our Work.

For me, Climb24 was more than just an event; it was a demonstration of the power of collaboration and innovation shaping the future of Leeds and its surrounding region. Reflecting on my memories of a rubble-filled car park I once visited as a child as the Royal Armoires first opened, to now seeing a vibrant waterside docklands bustling with hundreds of people fills me with immense pride. Leeds, you’re an incredible city, and one that is undeniably on the rise. I’m thrilled to be a part of this remarkable transformation.