From Design to Impact: Our Journey to Creating the GreenTech Gathering GreenTech Gathering event 2024 reflects on their recent Greentech Gathering event, sharing their journey into the sustainability realm from design.

In 2018, Sam Taylor, a graphic designer, and Matt Wheeler, a self-taught developer, met on a group project during their final year at the University of Leeds. Bonded over a shared passion for design and innovation, they entered their business plan to start a web design agency supported by SPARK, the University’s Business Start-Up programme. Shortly after graduating, they successfully launched

Like many bootstrapped startups, navigating the uncharted territory of entrepreneurship proved challenging. Wearing multiple hats and working long hours, the next couple of years were met with severe burnout and a decline in mental health. Now with a growing team, Sam and Matt recognised the need for a change and began prioritising well-being. They implemented a four-day workweek, joined the Mindful Employer network to promote positive mental health at work, and, most importantly, aligned their business with their core values.

Aligning Actions with Values

2023 was arguably the most transformational year in history. Sam and Matt reflected on the fundamental questions: What made us different? What did we believe in? What kind of people did we want to work with? And, most significantly, what got us up in the morning? Through open discussion with the team, they established a core set of values that resonated with everyone – values we could all authentically live and breathe through our work.

These values became the foundation of our culture, encouraging engagement and collaboration. We didn’t just understand the values; we owned them, finding a deeper sense of fulfilment in our work and contributing to a shared goal beyond just creating websites.

From Design to Sustainable Impact

Fast forward to today, has evolved into a sustainable web design agency with a dual purpose: creating low-carbon websites for GreenTech companies driving positive environmental change. But when addressing any ecological challenge, commitments must extend into broader society. Simply declaring values isn’t enough. Over time, as we discussed and re-evaluated our purpose, we understood that our impact couldn’t be limited to our services alone and that we needed to empower others working towards a greener future, creating a ripple effect beyond our agency.

From Idea to Community: The Start of GreenTech Gathering

Inspired by the thriving tech scene in Leeds, we recognised a need for connection and collaboration within the GreenTech sector. Despite shared values, individual efforts were fragmented, limiting the reach and collective impact. We became aware that it was difficult to build and maintain meaningful connections with other like-minded individuals and organisations, let alone drive any chance of collective action towards addressing environmental issues.

Motivated by this need to bridge the gap, we hosted the first GreenTech Gathering in November of 2023, aiming to give our GreenTech community space to connect, share knowledge and collaborate. With support from AD:VENTURE, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire’s Combined Authority, this concept snowballed into a vibrant and diverse community fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing, and a sense of belonging for those passionate about sustainable innovation.

Growing Together: A Community for Positive Change

Today, GreenTech Gathering boasts over 200 members from a diverse range of GreenTech sectors, including AgriTech, Energy, Circular Economy, and Academia. Members are not just passive participants; they are active contributors, leading the conversation and shaping the direction of the community. With collaboration fundamental to the model, the community proactively shapes the agenda, ensuring events are tailored to meet their needs.

GreenTech Gathering is thrilled to participate in the Leeds Digital Festival this year, further supporting the community and helping West Yorkshire reach its green agenda. With more members joining GreenTech Gathering, we envision the community becoming a vital platform, not only for West Yorkshire but for the wider GreenTech community, creating a collaborative force for a sustainable tomorrow.

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