aql CEO featured in new book on Leeds innovation

Prof. Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of both aql and investment platform NorthInvest, is featured in a new book that explores the history of innovation in Leeds.

Written by urban geographer Rachael Unsworth and local historian Steve Burt and funded by more than £53,000 from businesses and organisations across the city, ‘Leeds: Cradle of Innovation’ celebrates innovators of the past and present and supports those yet to come.

As well as being an innovator, Beaumont works to encourage and inspire innovation in others – particularly the region’s young people. As a visiting professor of cyber security at the University of Leeds and a key figure in the Government’s Northern Powerhouse, he’s building the partnerships to retain the region’s considerable graduate talent – the future founders, leaders and change-makers – and give them the tools to unleash future waves of innovation.

This was the impetus behind the University of Leeds’ recent first annual Beaumont Awards. The awards recognise 14 inspiring final-year students who are shaping our future through innovation. They come with a cash prize and a place on the university’s enterprise boot camp to help the students further explore their ideas.

The book was launched from aql’s historic Salem Chapel HQ – an appropriate venue given the building’s historic and current role in the community. Tom Riordan, CEO of Leeds City Council, spoke at the launch.

Built in 1791, Salem Chapel is the oldest non-conformist chapel in the city and was the birthplace of Leeds United Football Club. Renovated and restored by Beaumont in 2009, Salem is now home to aql’s head offices and hosts all kinds of innovators throughout the year in its 370-seat glass-floored auditorium.

The events are part of aql and Beaumont’s commitment to the city and to inspiring the next generation. In recent months, this has included Helen Sharman OBE, Britain’s first astronaut, and Bas Lansdorp, CEO and co-founder of Mars One; representatives from some of Estonia’s most exciting tech startups; and students from the city’s universities. aql also brought British aeronautic pioneer Gravity Industries and its founder and Chief Test Pilot, Richard Browning, to Leeds for a much-publicised showcase of continued leaps in human flight technology by flying their latest jet suit.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “There are many examples in this book of firms embodying the city’s spirit of originality and enterprise … From textiles to manufacturing, printing to digital and new media – Leeds is not a city that has ever stood still. Our economic ambition, curiosity and tenacity mean that is not about to change any time soon.”

‘Leeds: Cradle of Innovation’ is available to buy from the Leeds Civic Trust book shop on Wharf Street, open 10am-13:30 on weekdays, and will be available to purchase online soon. Follow @LeedsCradle on Twitter for updates.