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Unity Business Centre: Hub for Leeds entrepreneurs

PICTURED: Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive Ali Akbor, iota Business founder Cristine Wilson and Unity Enterprise manager Adrian Green at Unity Business Centre in Chapeltown

LEEDS-BASED Unity Enterprise has formed a partnership with long-established tenant iota Business to launch an incubator scheme to propel some of the city’s aspiring entrepreneurs to commercial success.

Office space and meetings rooms will be provided at Unity Business Centre in Chapeltown, together with access to mentors and specialist support services including marketing.

The initiative will be chiefly targeted at new start-ups and home-based businesses seeking to expand.

Unity Enterprise, a subsidiary of Unity Homes and Enterprise, currently provides 130 managed workspaces for around 80 businesses, social enterprises and third sector bodies on three sites close to Leeds city centre.

Unity’s partner for the new scheme, iota Business, has accumulated almost three decades of service to small and medium-sized businesses in accounts, payroll and business support.

Unity Enterprise manager Adrian Green said: “We are bursting with anticipation at the prospect of what the incubator can achieve and the positive impact it will have on the local economy including the creation of new jobs.

“Over recent months, Unity Enterprise has hosted a series of well-attended business breakfasts which have underlined that the entrepreneurial spirit is vibrant amongst our diverse blend of tenants.

"But it is not the Unity way to settle for what we have, there is always more to do on behalf of the communities we proudly serve.

“Backed by the in-house experience of iota Business and the expertise of other professionals working with us, we believe that the model we have put together has the potential to transform start-ups and very small enterprises into high-growth companies with stable financial futures.”

Unity Enterprise manager Adrian Green, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive Ali Akbor and iota Business founder Cristine Wilson meet to discuss final preparations for the new incubator

iota Business founder Cristine Wilson commented: “We have helped many businesses grow from a small idea to fully fledged companies, employing others. We help them grow in a sustainable way.

“One of the biggest struggles they tell us about is that first step from the kitchen table at home to rented office space. We wanted to plug that gap, with realistic prices.”

Ali Akbor, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive, added: “Unity Enterprise has come a long way since its creation almost 20 years ago.

“Over that period, it has acquired further workspace, refurbished built assets, hosted a multitude of impactful organisations and initiated a wide range of business and employment support programmes.

“Following a recent £1.4 million refurbishment programme, our three facilities – Unity Business Centre, Chapeltown Enterprise Centre and Leeds Media Centre – are now operating at close to full capacity.

“The launch of the business incubator scheme will enable us to inject new ideas and even greater vigour into what we do and how we do it.

“We look forward to hearing from interested parties and getting the initiative fully underway.”

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