David Parkin finds a positive approach to Brexit, hears about rascals in Downing Street and continues his quest to find the perfect way to mix beer and business

David Parkin finds a positive approach to Brexit, hears about rascals in Downing Street and continues his quest to find the perfect way to mix beer and business

ON the day that the government triggered article 50 which will lead to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, to be hosting an event aimed at helping businesses create and grow overseas trade opportunities, seemed entirely appropriate. We were working with the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to deliver Let’s Talk…Selling Overseas this week. Rather than the usual dull and dry export seminars, which wanted this to be engaging with advice coming not from advisers but from real businesses who were involved in doing business outside the UK. It had to reflect the LEP’s Let’s Talk Real Business campaign, which I think is a real breath of fresh air for businesses because it cuts out the management speak and cliches and focuses on down-to-earth, no-nonsense support and advice. And given that any business person will tell you that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes, we encouraged our expert panel to share some of the things that hadn’t quite worked out for them. We decided that the lunch should be provided by some great Leeds City Region businesses including Friends of Ham, Baltzersen’s, Tarte & Berry and Northern Bloc ice cream. We also wanted to hold the event at a business that reflects the vibrant diversity of enterprise with the city region so we headed to Holbeck, the cradle of the industrial revolution in Leeds, which is now home to so many creative and digital businesses that are part of the exciting future the Leeds City Region is looking forward to. Brand design agency Elmwood hosted us in their impressive studio and Jonathan Sands...
David Parkin hears a crisp message, sees Yorkshire in all its glory and learns how to be irresistible

David Parkin hears a crisp message, sees Yorkshire in all its glory and learns how to be irresistible

THE jamboree that is Welcome to Yorkshire’s annual conference to promote the region took place this week. I hadn’t been to one of the events since Y15 two years ago, so was interested to see what this year’s event would be called. So there I was at Y17 at the York Theatre Royal. While the theatre itself has an impressive auditorium, the communal areas were a bit limiting for the 700-plus individuals who attended the event. But spirits were high as I squeezed my way through the throng. As well as those employed in the region’s tourist industry, the event attracts sports people, politicians, entrepreneurs and celebrity bloggers (if you have to ask who, then I’m not telling you). The first people I saw were Tom Riordan and Wallace Sampson, the chief executives of Leeds and Harrogate councils. They were huddled in a part of the room I dubbed ‘council corner’, probably trying to avoid being accosted by householders with wheelie bin issues. I made my way towards a part of the room where Seabrooks Crisps were being handed out. It turns out that one of the Seabrooks team, a large imposing individual, is an avid reader of this weekly missive and was keen for the firm to get a mention in exchange for a few bags of their new lattice variety. When it comes to the independence of the Press, I’m up there with George Osborne. I also asked him if the lycra, slim fit branded polo shirt he was wearing was available to the general public, because it looked like a great cycling jersey. “It’s not lycra...
David Parkin on going clubbing and celebrating a lack of lawyers and WAGs

David Parkin on going clubbing and celebrating a lack of lawyers and WAGs

I’VE found the secret to eternal youth. It’s called the Bradford Club Annual Dinner. I was invited by long-standing member Craig Burton, who runs The Works Recruitment firm. The thick shag pile carpet at the impressive club in Piece Hall Yard saw me trip as I walked through the door. It makes a change, I usually trip up when I’m leaving a dinner. We ascended the stairs, adorned with busts of Gladstone and Cobden, glancing into the snooker room, with five full size tables. When the pair of us walked into the drinks reception we must have brought the average age down by about 40 years. I think if I keep going to the dinner every year for the next half century, I’ll still be younger than most of the attendees. There were a couple of chaps with bushy mutton chop whiskers that looked like they had stumbled straight out of a Fast Show sketch. But I’ve always said, with age comes experience. The massed ranks of former Bradford wool men, aldermen and women and other local dignitaries were a welcoming bunch and fascinating company. As several people pointed out, at least Bradford can still sustain a members’ club, something Leeds can’t do any more. The beautiful former home of the Leeds Club has been acquired by pub group Marston’s and is set to be turned into a bar and restaurant. Chicken in a basket and gammon with pineapple all round. Back in Bradford among the dinner jacketed ranks of guests I spotted a few familiar faces. Baroness Eaton, the former leader of Bradford Council and now the Conservative...
David Parkin on cycling success, overseas ambition, anger management and too many cooks

David Parkin on cycling success, overseas ambition, anger management and too many cooks

CYCLING is described as the new golf in business circles these days. Executives meeting in coffee shops on Monday mornings no longer discuss their performance in the golf club medal at the weekend, more likely their lycra-clad escapades on two wheels across the British countryside. And this hobby is also big business now. You only have to look at what the Tour de France Grand Depart did for Yorkshire. Its legacy has seen the creation of the Tour de Yorkshire, the hosting of the 2019 Road World Championships and every weekend thousands of cyclists take to the region’s roads. We organised a Business of Cycling event last week for Leeds-based finance search consultancy FDYL Woodrow Mercer and the clear message was that Yorkshire has a “massive opportunity” for future benefits. The even gave the audience insights into the structure of the teams that drive the professional tier of the sport and the politics involved in the elite events, as well as greater understanding of the cycle retailing sector that generates many millions in revenue for a number of Yorkshire firms. The panel of experts at the event was made up of Peter Dodd of Welcome to Yorkshire, Ribble Cycles commercial director David Stacey and the chairman of ONE Pro Cycling team Simon Chappell, who joined us at the Leeds Club. From the opportunities Yorkshire has to continue to further capitalise on its Tour de France Grand Depart legacy to the current issues surrounding British cycling, the panel tackled everything with plenty of insight, honesty and a good dash of humour. FDYL made it easy because they are such a...
David Parkin on a degree of success, turning visionary and accountants at the Oscars

David Parkin on a degree of success, turning visionary and accountants at the Oscars

I PAID a visit to my alma mater the other day. No, not Borstal or Rampton. In the spirit of political correctness, younger readers should refrain from Googling those names. Anyway, I visited the University of Huddersfield thanks to an invitation from Professor Bob Cryan, the vice chancellor, who took part in a round table I chaired at Grant Thornton last year. Hearing I was a graduate of the university, Bob offered to show me around the place along with Andy Wood, GT’s main man in Leeds. It has certainly changed a bit since I graduated 25 years ago. Then it was a jumble of unattractive modern blocks and converted mill buildings set around a main concrete tower. Now it is a welcoming sight with well designed buildings with flowing curves adorned with quotes from inspiring individuals such as Maya Angelou and Lemn Sissay. It is a far cry from the time when you could buy a pint of Ward’s Sheffield Bitter in the Student Union for 60p and dance to the La’s There She Goes until the small hours. As I entered a lift next to the library to ascend to Bob Cryan’s office in the Schwann Building, I suddenly realised that I was in the main concrete tower that used to stick out in the middle of the town like a pimple. Bob said that the design of all the new buildings around the Schwann had been about shielding it from view. It certainly works. Inside the buildings you have a thriving seat of learning with 22,000 students from 130 countries. And this is an institution that...