Wakefield Business Facts: The Ambitious City Near Leeds

Wakefield is Stada Media’s home, and we’re proud of being based in a thriving Northern city that’s developing every day. We’re about to fill you in with some great business facts about Wakefield that you may not know.

Leeds has been named as the largest centre outside of London for services including business, financial and digital, and has been reported to have the second-highest concentration of knowledge-intensive jobs.

However, Wakefield – Leeds’ little sister, as we like to call it – is developing fast.

Just 9 miles southeast of Leeds and with a direct rail connection down to London, Wakefield is proving itself to be a strong contender in the world of business.

Wakefield has welcomed travellers since the Roman times, cemented itself in history with the Battle of Wakefield, and is now an arts hub boasting The Hepworth art gallery and with Drury Lane housing our own Theatre Royal, The Art House and the Artwalk.

 
Did you know? Historical facts about Wakefield and Leeds
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Wakefield Westgate, 1900.
  •  Both Wakefield and Leeds were major centres for wool in the 18th century.
  • Wakefield’s parish church achieved cathedral status in 1888, when Wakefield also became a city.
  • Wakefield was dubbed the ‘Merrie City’ in the Middle Ages as the townsfolk amused themselves in games and sports. Centuries later, Wakefield was named the 3rd happiest city in Yorkshire in 2014.
  • The nursery rhyme ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’ may have been sung by women inmates at Wakefield prison, and ‘The Grand Old Duke Of York’ may allude to the Battle of Wakefield, in which the 3rd Duke of York Richard Plantagenet was killed in 1460.
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Old engraved illustration of Leeds, 1800s.
 
Did you know? Film and TV facts about Wakefield and Leeds
  • French visionary Louis Le Prince recorded moving images for the very first time in Leeds in 1888. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the oldest-surviving film in existence.
  • The long-running ITV detective series A Touch of Frost (1992-2010) was largely shot in Wakefield and its neighbouring towns Pontefract and Castleford.
  • The gangster crime drama Peaky Blinders (2014-present) was partly filmed in Leeds.
  • The BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders (2018) was partly filmed in Leeds and Wakefield.
  • Singer, actress and TV personality Jane McDonald is from Wakefield.

But it’s not just arts, culture and happiness that Wakefield is good at.

In 2019 the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) named Wakefield 7th in its top 10 places in the UK to run your business, with Leeds in first place.

In 2018, the Wakefield District saw the birth of 1,225 new businesses.

 

Did you know that some of the biggest brands are based in Wakefield?

 
Famous brands based in Wakefield
Burberry

Luxury retailer Burberry, famous for its traditional heritage trench coats, has a factory in Castleford, Wakefield.

Coca Cola

With a manufacturing site in Wakefield, Coca Cola also flies the flag for the district.

Coca Cola announced in October 2019 that they would be investing £49 million into their Wakefield site as the factory celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The factory itself covers an area the size of 16 football pitches!

 

We all know these businesses have already been wildly successful – but what about some achievements for Wakefield businesses even closer to home?

 

Recent developments in Wakefield business

Between 2014 and 2019, jobs in knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) increased by 30%.

Between 2012 and 2019, employment in the administration and support industry grew by 40%.

Recent successes for Wakefield businesses
TEVA UK

The leading provider of medicines to the NHS came out on top in the Wakefield district in Yorkshire Business Insider’s Top 500 companies for 2019. They achieved the highest turnover of £522.2 million.

Team 17

In 2018, the video game developer behind the best-selling franchise Worms came 25th in Yorkshire Business Insider’s 100 Fastest-Growing Businesses in Yorkshire.

Sigma Group

Sigma Group provides end-to-end solutions for commercial spaces, including construction and installation. C&K Careers recently included them in their list of Yorkshire’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies for 2020.

Wakefield as a digital hub

In summer 2018, The Plex tech hub was opened in Wakefield to accommodate the area’s creative and digital start-ups.

The Plex has room for an astonishing 39 businesses, who can employ up to 160 people.

According to the GP Bullhound Northern Tech 100 list of 2019, here are the top fastest-growing tech businesses in Wakefield:
1. 6B Digital

A digital agency offering web and app design and development.

2. Concorde Technology Group

An IT support services business who have partnered with companies including Microsoft, BT, and HP.

3. NGC Network Services

Providing ultra-fast fibre broadband for businesses.

 

Wakefield’s continuous steps towards digital working echo those of the city’s larger counterpart, Leeds.

Whilst two centuries ago Leeds Dock played an important role in the Industrial Revolution, it now plays an equally important one in rebranding the city as a centre for digital business.

Leeds Dock now houses a range of digital and tech companies.

Beyond this, Leeds has the highest number of ‘scale up’ digital companies outside South East England.

Mirroring Wakefield’s Team 17, digital gaming is also a big part of Leeds’ economy. Multiple large developers have studios in and around the city, including Activision, developers of the mobile versions of Call of Duty, and Rockstar Leeds, developers of Grand Theft Auto.

 

Wakefield is fast becoming a thriving hub for business and digital development. Watch out for us – we’re not to be underestimated!

 

Stada Media is an example of this ambition. Discover what we can create for your brand here.

 

Enjoyed this blog? Find even more wisdom, tips and tricks over on the Stada Media blog.

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