Global manufacturing entrepreneur joins LEP Board


Shipley-based manufacturing entrepreneur, Eric Hawthorn, has been appointed by the

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as its newest Board member.

Eric, the Managing Director of global telecommunications firm Radio Design, has served for three years on the LEP’s Business Innovation and Growth Panel, where he helped spearhead the successful We are International export campaign. To date the campaign – which aims to boost the City Region’s export performance – has helped around 300 SMEs take the first steps towards trading overseas.

Eric will continue as the LEP’s chief adviser on international trade, as well as provide the Board with expertise on enterprise, business innovation, SME competitiveness and the manufacturing sector.

Commenting on his appointment, Eric said: “Having been part of the LEP for three years now, I’m impressed by the genuine passion our Board and panel members have for driving the region forward.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to the LEP Board, and to working with my fellow Board members to seize the opportunity we now have to fully realise the Leeds City Region’s enormous economic potential – and to ensuring the We are International campaign continues to go from strength to strength in helping local firms realise their own export potential.”

LEP Chair, Roger Marsh, commented: “I’m delighted to appoint someone of Eric’s outstanding calibre to the LEP Board. Eric has brought real leadership and energy to the We are International campaign, and has helped ensure it’s seen – by the SMEs who are benefitting from it, and by government – as an innovative and valuable LEP initiative.

“Eric’s company success story is testament to how businesses in our region are exporting innovation around the world and driving the re-industrialisation of the UK economy. I look

forward to having him on board to help the LEP ensure the Leeds City Region punches its full weight on the national and international stage.”

Eric Hawthorn founded Radio Design in 2007 and has since overseen its exponential growth from a team of 11 employees in Shipley, to a global operation today with more than 250 staff in six countries, including China and India.

Innovation and international trade have been key to Radio Design’s success: the company was the first in the world to market radio filter technology that allows two mobile operators to share the same antenna system. T-Mobile and Three subsequently rolled out the world’s largest shared network using Radio Design technology. The firm has won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation, was a supplier to the 2012 London Olympics, and is expecting to turn over in excess of £20million this year, with ambitious plans for further export-led expansion.

For more information about the LEP’s We are International campaign see