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Business hub to support Leeds entrepreneurs set for hi-tech kit-out

The redevelopment of Leeds Media Centre in Chapeltown has taken a major step towards final completion after Unity Enterprise secured funds to support the establishment of a hi-tech business hub to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Leeds City Council, which owns the building, has provided £80,000 from the Innovation@Leeds capital fund to equip the dedicated space with new furniture, video conferencing facilities and computer hardware.

Leeds Media Centre reopened its doors in September following a £1.8 million refurbishment which included the installation of a new roof and windows, and the remodelling of two floors to create 12 new business units.

The scheme was delivered by Unity Enterprise – a not-for-profit subsidiary of housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise – in partnership with Leeds City Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Leeds Media Centre is one of three business locations operated by Unity Enterprise close to the city centre, together with Chapeltown Enterprise Centre and Unity Business  Centre.

Collectively, they provide 142 managed workspaces for more than 90 local businesses employing over 900 people.

The new business hub is set to launch in the spring with a week-long series of events themed on entrepreneurship.  More details will be announced shortly.

Adrian Green, Unity Enterprise manager, said: “We are immensely grateful to Leeds City Council for their continued backing for aspiring entrepreneurs by enabling us to kit out the business hub with the best equipment available.

“Our mission is to support local people to launch and grow a business and create life opportunities in an inner-city part area with so much potential.

“The redeveloped Leeds Media Centre is already making its mark on the city’s business landscape.   I have no doubt that the new hub will propel the site to even greater heights.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said:

“This is another brilliant step forward for Leeds Media Centre and further reinforces our commitment to inclusive innovation within the city.

“We’re continuing to build and support an ecosystem where entrepreneurs from every background have the tools, quality workspaces and accommodation close to where they live to help them reach their full potential.

“It is particularly important that we look at access points outside the city centre for people to access business and innovation support programmes and continue on our bold ambition to stimulate innovation which drives and delivers measurable impact towards a healthier, greener and inclusive future.”

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive, said: “Each new business generated by the hub can transform life chances by boosting career development, generating jobs and increasing local prosperity.

“With Unity Enterprise preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, the opportunities for people of all ages to build a sustainable business in Chapeltown are growing rapidly.

“Working closely with Leeds City Council and other valued partners, we intend to remain at the forefront of this crusade.”

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Innovation@Leeds Created using a mixture of funding sources including UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Covid Additional Restrictions Grant and funding from Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Innovation@Leeds has supported a range of private, community and third sectors organisations to deliver projects which support entrepreneurs and innovators in the city.  Capital funding has been made available to support the creation of new collaboration and co-working spaces whilst revenue grants have supported organisations to deliver events, mentorship activity and partnership programmes to strengthen the innovation ecosystem.  For more information visit Unity Homes and Enterprise Unity Housing Association was formed in 1987 with the objective of building a strong, BME-led, community housing association to address the needs of black and minority ethnic communities in Leeds.  The initial focus was on Chapeltown, but this has widened to other areas of the city including Harehills, Beeston, Holbeck, Chapel Allerton and Pudsey.  Alongside two schemes in Huddersfield, a new affordable housing development has recently been completed in Cleckheaton.  With a turnover of £6.8 million and an annual investment in new and existing homes of around £6.5 million, Unity now manages over 1,350 properties for tenants from all communities and ethnic backgrounds. In 2000 the association established its not-for-profit subsidiary company, Unity Enterprise, to support local entrepreneurial activity.  It now provides 142 affordable business units for more than 80 diverse businesses across three centres in Leeds. Unity Employment Services (UES) was set-up in 2011 to support Unity tenants and their surrounding communities in accessing employment and training opportunities.  It has since supported more than 1,700 individuals into work and training.

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