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Bruntwood SciTech (the 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General) has today announced that Deb Hetherington has joined the team in Leeds as Head of Innovation to help drive the growth and expansion of the city’s burgeoning digital and tech sector, renowned for its strengths in data science, cybersecurity, fintech and legaltech.

Deb joins from Leeds Beckett University, where she previously held the role of business innovation manager and is a well known figure on the Leeds tech scene. Deb is a member of the city region’s LEP innovation panel, a board member of the Leeds Digital Festival and is also the co-founder of Women in Leeds Digital, a community-led initiative focused on driving the growth of the female digital community in Leeds.

With a wealth of experience of working in the digital and tech ecosystem across the Leeds city region, Deb intrinsically understands the help and support digital and tech businesses need to form, scale and grow.

In her role as Head of Innovation, Deb will work closely with businesses based at Platform to deliver tailored business support – connecting them to unique opportunities to access finance, talent, markets and advice from a range of professional services. Deb will also connect the companies based there into Bruntwood SciTech’s unrivalled partner network and sector-specialist community of over 500 science and tech businesses across the UK.

Deb will work in partnership with the city’s public, private, academic and clinical institutions including the universities – with access to over 21,000 STEM graduates per year, NHS trusts and city council to help create high value jobs for the sector and drive the economic growth of the city, and joins the team at what is a pivotal time for the UK science and tech sector.

Craig Burrow, director Bruntwood – Leeds, said: “Deb’s experience, connections and reputation in the city are second to none and the role she’s already played in supporting the growth of start-ups and scale-ups in the city’s digital and tech sector speaks volumes. She’s going to be instrumental in both the growth and success of the tech community in Leeds.

Deb added: “Opportunities to play a key role in a city’s economic growth don’t come along every day, let alone at such a critical time for the city and the sector. Collaboration between businesses and partners is vital if Leeds is going to flourish as a leading UK hub for the digital and tech community.

“I’m really looking forward to working with all the great companies based at Platform many of whom are at the forefront of disrupting their industry and supporting them to achieve their business goals and ambitions”.

Deb joins the thriving digital community established in Platform including Leeds’ only dedicated startup Tech Incubator, and companies including 2020 Queen’s Award recipient CPOMS, coding school Northcoders, diabetes management platform DigiBete, and legaltech company rradar.