Sandy Needham, Chief Executive of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Bradford University’s Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences on Wednesday 5 December 2018. Sandy was recognised for her contributions to business and enterprise, aswell as for having a pioneering attitude and commitment to collaboration.
Since her initial involvement with the Chamber in 1997, Sandy has helped spear-head several business support and economic development initiatives, and in 2014 managed the merger of Bradford, Leeds and York & North Yorkshire Chambers. The recommendation for the award came from the university’s Dr Crina Oltean-Dumbrava, a steering group member of Bradford Chamber’s Property Forum. Sandy also has close ties to higher education: she was previously a member of the University Council, chairing the Audit Committee and the Yorkshire Innovation Fund; she is currently a member of the University Court.
The merger of the three Chambers of Commerce covering Bradford, Leeds and York & North Yorkshire has subsequently created one of the largest business support organisations in the country. Sandy’s other non-executive roles include:
- director of Leeds Business Improvement District
- member of the Business Innovation & Growth Panel of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
- British Chambers of Commerce Board Director
- Member of Bradford Economic Partnership,
- Bradford City of Film Board member
- Deputy Chair of Bradford Business Improvement District.
“I’m very flattered and humbled to be honoured in this way. I’d like to think that my contribution to the business community and economic success more generally is making a difference to our region’s prosperity, although I am just one of a bigger team of people with the same objectives in mind.”
Sandy was one of five high profile figures to be recognised at the graduation ceremony – the others were University College London’s Nicholas Barber, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Sir Gary Verity, social services professional Jonathan Phillips and local academic Dr Hassib Sahyoun.
Initiatives that Sandy has helped oversee during her time with the Chamber include:
- Providing industrial units and offices on easy terms for start-ups
- Creating the ‘Raising the Bar’ project to recognise businesses’ support of the wider community
- Establishing a company to loan funds for businesses unable to borrow from high street lenders.