Networking the rugby way

A new and certainly very interesting experience for me last night when I attended a Rugby Business Network event in Leeds addressed by none other than England rugby union head coach Stuart Lancaster.

The Rugby Business Network is a not-for-profit organisation, set up in 2010 by digital entrepreneur and ex-rugby pro Colm Hannon, with the mission of "encouraging and celebrating the application of rugby’s values to business."  It now welcomes upwards of 25,000 members to its regular events held in more than 50 cities around the world.  

Yesterday evening's event featured a particularly impressive 45-minute multimedia presentation from Coach Lancaster about his approach to drilling's England's finest.  He then took questions from the floor.  If you're a fan of singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot at an annoying volume level, you'll be thrilled to learn that Stuart is confident of building an England team capable of winning next year's Rugby World Cup, and much else besides.  An an Ireland rugby fan, I am equally confident that we have a better group of players than he has.  But that's all part of the fun.    

You can find out more about the Rugby Business Network, including details of upcoming events, by logging onto

I might even see you at a future gathering.  

Amy seeks to ‘Herd’ up the best for Leeds digital sector

An eyebrow-raising piece in the business pages of today’s Yorkshire Post which revealed that there are more than 400 “hidden” vacancies in the Leeds digital sector, costing an estimated £15million in lost benefit to the local economy.

A piece of sharp analysis from technology recruitment firm Herd found that there were 426 digital vacancies in Leeds in October, with some posts being left vacant for six months.  

“Cities are complex and understanding the digital economy has always been a challenge,” Herd founder Amy De-Balsi told the paper.

“People are constantly arguing about what constitutes a digital company, whether a digital sector exists because most businesses use technology and before those arguments are even settled, the digital world has moved on. Leeds is no exception.”

And whilst the city has worked hard to grow its reputation in digital industries, not a single UK or multinational technology big player is headquartered here.   

But never one to stand on the sidelines, Amy – who I was proud to work with at Yorkshire Forward – is doing her bit by bringing digital leaders together to work for a solution.

The Herd website promotes vacancies across a growing number of digital companies including Epiphany, The Test People, Web Anywhere and Immedia Solutions.

You can see what’s currently available by visiting  

“There is huge support for Leeds to be put on the map,” said Amy.  And she’s right.