C4DI is a 'beacon for technology'

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 11 Jul 2018

Hull’s C4DI has created “a beacon of technology that everybody should be part of,” the city’s digital ambassador told an audience of leading business figures.

David Keel, chair of the tech hub and co-founder of Trident, admitted when the C4DI was launched, no one could have anticipated the talent it would attract.

Speaking at the Hull Business Women’s Breakfast Club at The Deep Business Centre, Mr Keel said the building had cemented its place as one of the top 10 tech sites outside of London.

He said: “At Trident you could Skype into any office anywhere in the world and you would almost certainly be answered in a Hull accent.

“When we opened C4Di we didn’t realise the wealth of digital expertise that there was in Hull because we were all in little silos doing our own stuff.

“People’s lives are touched every single day by digital businesses based in Hull.”

Guests at the business event were also given an inspiring glimpse into the future, as Mr Keel was followed on stage by a trio of young people who represent “the future of Reckitt Benckiser.”

Daniel Groom, Catriona McAulay and Temitayo Ogundimu gave people plenty to think about when the subject of what technology will look like when the three budding business figures reach Mr Keel’s age.

Read more: Meet the east Hull entrepreneur whose thumbnail-sized invention can control cars and robots

The graduates from RB took the story further, telling of their experience, requirements and influence as millennials in the workplace.

They are all part of a future leadership programme at RB, which employs around 40,000 people and sells 25 million products daily in more than 180 countries.

Mr Keel said: “C4Di created this beacon of technology and technical excellence in Hull that everybody should be part of. It’s one of the top ten tech sites in the UK outside London.

“You can take away gas, electricity, road and rail and their absence would not have as much effect on your business as losing connectivity, because it is at the heart of everything that we do. Every business has to be digital to survive.”

Pat Coyle, chair of Hull Business Women’s Breakfast Club, said the presentations amounted to an important message for business owners at all levels.

Read more: Innovative education company launches in Hull's C4DI

She said: “In a competitive economic environment, businesses need to improve, adapt and be responsive to the changing world around them in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

“Technology is at the forefront of enabling businesses to be more agile, and millennials now hold 20 per cent of all leadership roles and that’s obviously going to grow.”

David Keel, branded as Hull’s “Digital Ambassador”, harnessed technology to transform Hull-based Trident into a £75-million business employing 750 people worldwide and enjoying 30 per cent growth year on year.

Now past retirement age but running his own business in addition to chairing C4Di, he told the audience at The Deep of his enduring commitment to Hull.

Mr Keel’s who’s who of huge brands from Trident’s portfolio included Boots, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Colgate and more, with special mention for a Bud Light advertisement during a Superbowl show which was viewed by 16 million people.

He added that Hull-based tech is now driving such everyday essential as airport carousels, Oyster card software and digital support for emergency services.

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