One thing we think we’re pretty good at in the Harrogate District is working together. Most competition is friendly, professionals and businesses co-operate and cross-refer well, and we have events and institutions such as the Harrogate Business Luncheon, the Harrogate Advertiser Business Awards and the Chamber of Commerce. But it’s never enough, because we all know that to stand still is to go backwards, and neither individually nor collectively can we afford to do that.
There are encouraging signs that we’re not content to let the Stray grow under our feet. We’ve seen Harrogate Borough Council bring forward its business strategy and encourage the development of the area’s hidden strength, in logistics, professional and financial services, in creative and digital, and in scientific development and research.
Hand in hand with this, we’ve seen the rebirth of the Harrogate Digital initiative, in which we have been involved for very many years. In the last few days we have seen the Council approve the development of the area’s first co-working space under the aegis of IndieWorx Collective; and there’s more to come, following successful coworking initiative in other towns and cities. For creative and digital workers, working in a collaborative and flexible space allows for ideas to be shared and to flourish. As a professional services firm, we have experienced this work style in our location in Leeds, and we know it works.
The last year has also seen an identification of the importance to the area of its independents, and then seen those independents work together. Independents need to be celebrated not just for their independence, but for their quality and character (being independent and rubbish is no recommendation). Independents, as with all businesses, need to merit being supported, but where they do, the impetus built over the last few months around supporting independents will need to be sustained.
Working together, with positive and active support from major players, from the Council and the Leeds City Region where that works well, with the prospect of the Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District) helping businesses up their game, with sporting success adding a new flavour to Harrogate, and with international events such as 2019’s Road World Cycling Championships throwing a spotlight on what the area has to offer – working together, and doing so ever better, the Harrogate District can build on its strength to bring further prosperity.
Paul Berwin is Senior Partner and Founder of Berwins. He been supporting businesses within and beyond the Yorkshire region with the legal services they need to develop and thrive for over 30 years.