Chris Holland looks at two events that have been held to encourage and flag up local business success

THE newly rebranded YEN Expo conference and exhibition widened its scope to include a focus on creative businesses and careers, while retaining a focus on the city's regeneration.

Young entrepreneurs were also in the spotlight with a session aimed at flagging up Bradford as a good place for the next generation of business owners to start up and progress.

The panel featured a range of people who have opted for self employment at a young age , including 25 year-old Bradford management consultant Philip Cockayne, chairman of the Yorkshire Group of Junior Chambers; online entrepreneur and blogger Caroline Towers; Haigh Simpson,managing director, Festival Publications Ltd; Matt Lamont,

director and designer, Foxduo Design; Ellie MacDonald, founder of PR-led marketing and communications firm, MacComms and James Whitfield, managing director of fashion start-up Vanacci.

The discussion was set against the background of Bradford having one of the youngest populations in Europe, with 25 per cent aged under 16, low living costs and easy transport links and a start-up culture which has seen the district become a hotspot for young entrepreneurs.

Ellie MacDonald said: “I was delighted to have been asked to be a panel member at the Young Entrepreneurs expo. I would highly recommend starting up your own business but it is hard and can be lonely at first so it is important to gain as much support and business knowledge as possible. ”

YEN Expo, previously the Bradford Business Conference is now in its fifth year. It was again organised in conjunction with the Telegraph & Argus, along with partners Bradford College, Bradford Council and Bradford-based Malik House Business Centres.

YEB Expo also featured successful Bradford-born author and entrepreneur A A Dhand. who has sold the TV rights of his novel Streets of Darkness, which is set locally.

The author sees Bradford as a city fighting to return to its rightful place as a leading industrial centre and "a true Northern Powerhouse". .

Mr Dhand, who also runs a pharmacy business, hosted a business clinic discussing how his home city has inspired his Harry Virdee novels. .

He spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing.

He said: “I set my books against Bradford’s struggles with a hint at the way it is changing and the new developments. I feel Bradford is a city trying to get back to its rightful place when it was a leading industrial centre. There is a fair way to go with the infrastructure and so on, but I believe our city has potential to be a Northern Powerhouse.

“I hope my book and TV series will give Bradford the exposure it deserves, to raise the profile, but also to showcase the city from a different perspective.”

Streets of Darkness has been sold to FilmWave, whose director Paul Trijbits was executive producer for the recent adaptation of J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy for the BBC and HBO.

Mr Dhand offered advice to would be authors on how to get published and chronicled his own ten year journey to success. He also discussed the time management skills needed to meet the commitments faced by the modern-day entrepreneur, explaining how he juggles his writing career with the day-to-day running of his pharmacy business.

Mr Dhand added: “I’m a lifelong Bradfordian and proud of my city. I was delighted to attend the YEN Expo event as I wanted to meet as many people as possible who share those views and want to help drive things forward.

“I’m also keen to encourage the artistic side of our community – such as novel writing, script writing, film and theatre, and make sure we promote the many creative visions of our city.”

The plot of Streets of Darkness features detective Harry Virdee with a murder to solve and includes references to the statue of textile entrepreneur Sir Titus Salt, creator of the model village which is now a world heritage site, and Lister Park in Bradford .

YEN Expo is Bradford’s biggest annual business event attracting about 1,000 delegates from across the county and around 50 exhibition stands from a wide range of Yorkshire businesses.

ANOTHER annual event held to flag up and recognise success is staged by Shipley-based Kashmiri restaurant chain Aagrah.

Over the years the event has grown and expanded and now attracts leaders of some of the biggest global brands and top regional bosses.

The event now attracts more than 800 people and has outgrown Aagrah's Midpoint venue at Thornbury. The latest one was held at the First Direct Arena in Leeds .

It was the 34th annual event, this year dubbed the Aagrah Yorkshire Powerhouse Business Awards dinner and was the biggest and most successful to date.

As well as top business figures rubbing shoulders and being recognised with awards, the event also raised £130,000 for charity.

The keynote speaker was Welcome to Yorkshire boss Sir Gary Verity who underlined the region's major contribution to the UK economy as well as pushing the case for a Northern Powerhouse.

Welcome to Yorkshire has subsequently revealed that Bradford will be one of six towns and cities hosting the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire cycle race. This year's event attracted two million roadside spectators and the race attracted 11.4 million global TV viewers, up from six million in 2015.

The event also boosted the local economy by £60 million and the trend looks set to continue following the news that Yorkshire will host the UCI Road World Championships in 2019.

The Aagrah event also brought together the leader of Bradford City Council Susan Hinchcliffe and Leeds City Council leader, Judith Blake to discuss collaboration between the two cities.

Award winners included the Burlington restaurant at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, named restaurant of the year. Virgin Trains whose expanded East Coast schedule using new trains will include services from Bradford, was recognised for investment of the year.

Aagrah is Europe’s largest Kashmiri restaurant group with 14 branches employing 400 staff. Its fundraising is through its charity wing, Jannat Welfare International Trust, in memory of Sajid Sabir, the late son of Aagrah’s chairman, Mohammed Sabir, to benefit local, national and international charities for which more than £2.1 mullion has been raised to date.