About Us

History

Connect Yorkshire was founded in 2002 by a group of professional service providers in Leeds and Sheffield with the mission of helping Yorkshire companies to grow. Initially the aim was to help them raise equity funding and over the following 9 years Connect Yorkshire was supported by over 40 of the county’s top professional service providers and by Yorkshire Forward and helped Yorkshire companies raise over £45m.

When Yorkshire Forward closed in 2010/11 Connect Yorkshire changed its model so it could continue to help Yorkshire companies grow but now by learning from Yorkshire’s most successful entrepreneurs who had been there and done it. This idea was based on the original Connect in San Diego www.connect.org/

Connect Yorkshire is a company limited by guarantee so any profits are retained in the company and not distributed.

 

What we do

Connect Yorkshire, a not-for-profit organisation that has a track record spanning over fifteen years helping Yorkshire businesses grow.

Our highly experienced entrepreneurs, our Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs), give time and considerable expertise for free to support growing businesses and nurture emerging talent to help companies prosper, creating wealth, jobs and opportunities across the Yorkshire region.

This is an invaluable environment for like-minded individuals to discuss and resolve issues and help develop their propositions for greater success.

There is a Connect Yorkshire group which operates in the South Region of Yorkshire and a group which operates in the West and North Regions of Yorkshire.

Who we are

 

Sophie Conboy

Chief Executive Officer

Sophie joined Connect Yorkshire in May 2013 and has progressed through the business. She started as an Account Manager and has very quickly progressed to becoming CEO in early 2019, in between holding the posts of Operations Director and also COO.

Sophie’s previous experience is in sales and account management, but she has always strived for more and always wanted to be the best she can, having recently completed a Business Administration Level 4 qualification, having had Craig as her Tutor in his past life. She is now in charge of the running of Connect Yorkshire, sourcing and recruiting new members and also account managing our Partners.

In Sophie’s own time she likes fixing up her house and travelling around seeing her family. Also, as a newly wed she is enjoying spending time with her husband and dog Hector. Sophie always has an adventurous weekend planned. As a foreigner to Yorkshire, she is still learning our language and also learning that we are much better than the south.

Martin Slathia

Accounts & Events Coordinator

Martin joined us in July 2011 in order to complete a placement through university. After a year he went back to completed his HND in Events Management. Once this was finished he then came back to work for us full time. Martin has been with us ever since and has progressed through the company to his current role.

He is one of the longest serving staff members, Martin organises all the fantastic events that we run over the year, from sourcing venues and speakers to informing you all about them, whilst also managing our accounts and sending out your invoices (making him some people's least favourite person).

Martin is the official tea maker in the office. In his personal time he enjoys socialising with friends and often can be found at the pub on a Thursday. He also enjoys music concerts and watching films.

07985 251 004

Brad Cahill

Membership Partner

Brad joined Connect Yorkshire in April 2022. His background is in accounting and finance and after gaining experience as a finance analyst at a large charity, he finally saw the light and moved into sales and account management in 2018.

Brad is responsible for the sourcing and recruiting of new members in Yorkshire, account managing and renewing existing members and selling added membership benefits. With his previous experience and knowledge of peer advisory boards, he will also be helping to shape our peer to peer offering.

Brad spends a bit too much time with his two lockdown cats, Casper and Binx. In Brad’s spare time he likes to keep active and play as many sports as possible. He plays for a local football team in Bardsey, is a member of the Climbing Lab and has most recently taken up darts.

07984 327 815

Jessica Patton

Membership Executive

Jessica has a background in sales, working for multiple school software companies selling overseas and in the UK. She took a break in 2017 to raise her three children and opened her own business in the beauty industry in 2018. Since then, her business is running successfully, meaning she can free up some of her time to help Connect Yorkshire grow.

Jessica is responsible for the sourcing and recruiting of new members in Yorkshire, account managing and renewing existing members and selling added membership benefits.

She enjoys spending time with her family, building good relationships with her clients and learning new things.

07498 395 993

Nick Butler

Founder

Nick founded Connect Yorkshire after retiring from being an Equity Partner at DLA Piper for just over 13 years. Nick devoted his time to Connect Yorkshire free of charge to help grow Yorkshire businesses for many years, transitioning from CEO to Founder, handing the reins over to Sophie in 2018, before retiring in 2023.

For more information about Connect Yorkshire, please get in touch with a member of the team on:  07985 251 004 or email info@connectyorkshire.org