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

 

Nick Butler

Founder

Nick founded Connect Yorkshire in 2001 after retiring from being an Equity Partner at DLA Piper for just over 13 years. He has recently transitioned from CEO to Founder, handing the reins over to Sophie.

Nick’s role is to help grow the member numbers in both the West & North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire groups. Retaining and recruiting Entrepreneurs in Residence and also helping run the 1-to-1 mentoring sessions.

In Nicks spare time he enjoys playing golf, walking the dogs and also playing Tennis. He loves spending time with his family and especially his grandchildren. He is also an avid fan of playing bridge.

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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 has been instrumental in the growth of the company over the last 6 years.

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.

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Craig Batham

Operations Manager

Craig joined us in January 2019 and has come from a training background delivering apprenticeships and NVQ’s across a wide range of businesses and sectors, looking at retail, warehousing, team leading and management to name a few. We first came across him when he delivered a qualification to our very own Sophie, and then to Libby too.

He brings a wealth of management experience to us having held management roles in both the public and private sector, whilst also being able to turn his hand to a wide variety of tasks and problems.

Craig is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and when he’s not working for us he spends his time volunteering in various roles including teaching Karate and spending time with his daughter.

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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, racking up a over 7 years so far. 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.

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For more information about Connect Yorkshire, please get in touch with a member of the team on: 0113 337 2001 or email info@connectyorkshire.org