Calderdale’s rich legacy of innovation took centre stage at a significant event aimed at fostering business growth through novel ideas and opportunities.

Numerous enterprises spanning Calderdale and West Yorkshire explored avenues to elevate their products, services, and processes at the ‘Innovate Local: West Yorkshire’ gathering held at Dean Clough, Halifax, on Tuesday, 14th November 2023.

Councillor Jane Scullion, the Leader of Calderdale Council, inaugurated the event, hosted by Innovate UK (the national innovation agency of the UK) and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, as part of the West Yorkshire Innovation Festival (13-17 November 2023). Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, and Dean Cook, the Director of Place and Levelling Up at Innovate UK, also addressed the audience.

Attendees gained insights from fellow businesses on how innovation had positively impacted them and learned about the significance of staying abreast of industry trends to enhance competitiveness, bolster profits, and cultivate resilience for sustained success. Practical guidance from innovation experts, including the Council’s Business Growth Calderdale team, equipped attendees to progress towards transforming their businesses.

In her opening speech, Councillor Scullion underscored the notion that all businesses can and should be guided by innovation, showcasing instances from Calderdale’s innovative history. Notable examples included the invention of the ‘cat’s eye’ reflective road stud by Percy Shaw in the 1930s, Violet Mackintosh’s revolutionary toffee recipe in the 1890s that propelled Nestlé’s success, and the transformation of Crossley Carpets into the thriving business and leisure complex it is today.

Councillor Scullion also highlighted present-day innovative businesses in Calderdale, such as FeTu, renowned for its groundbreaking green energy device targeting carbon reduction; A-SAFE, a trailblazer in workplace safety technology supplied to major international companies; and WITT UK Group, known for manufacturing innovative industrial fans and air movement solutions, catering to global markets.

Cllr Jane Scullion, Leader of Calderdale Council, said; “The decision to hold this important regional event in Halifax recognises the town’s pioneering role in the Industrial Revolution and its strong history of innovation. Once known as ‘the town of 100 trades’, and with the whole of Calderdale continuing to innovate ever since, there’s a reason why ‘enterprising’ is one of the key qualities driving the Vision 2024 for Calderdale.

“It was great to be part of this event to support growth and thriving towns, to give people the chance to network with like-minded professionals from Calderdale and West Yorkshire’s vibrant business communities, and to discover the opportunities and incentives for ambitious innovators across the region.”