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New group to support ethnic minority women in tech launches in Leeds

The inaugural West Yorkshire Ethnic Minority Women in Tech roundtable has been held at the recently refurbished Leeds Media Centre in Chapeltown.

Hosted by Unity Enterprise in collaboration with partners Cognizant, Leeds City Council, AD:VENTURE, WiLD Digital, Digital Enterprise and the Yorkshire Asian Business Association (YABA), the gathering brought together women from numerous professional backgrounds to exchange ideas, network and share good practice.

Attendees heard short speeches from Unity Enterprise Chair and YABA Director Sharon Jandu OBE, Leeds City Council Chief Officer for Culture and Economy Eve Roodhouse, and Cognizant Senior Director / WiLD Digital founder Sarah Tulip, before taking part a wide-ranging group discussion.

Sharon Jandu said: “The West Yorkshire Ethnic Minority Women in Tech initiative provides women with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the realm of technology, facilitating the exchange of knowledge among various industry experts.

“The first meeting was incredibly useful.  We intend to gather again at the end of February with an even larger attendance expected.

“I am grateful to all of our partner organisations for supporting this exciting new venture and would particularly like to thank Eve Roodhouse for joining us to give the concept her personal seal of approval.”

Sarah Tulip said: “Over the last five years, WiLD Digital and I have been striving to support Leeds and West Yorkshire in becoming the most diverse region.

“Through collaboration on interventions like this, we are able to support under-represented communities to have a voice and create fairer opportunities for all.

“This first session brought together so many diverse voices with shared passion, I can’t wait to progress the work.”

Established in 2000, Unity Enterprise is the not-for-profit subsidiary company of housing BME housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise which operates three business centres in Leeds.

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive, said: “We were privileged to host the first West Yorkshire Ethnic Minority Women in Tech roundtable at Leeds Media Centre and look forward to many more.

“It was a wonderfully diverse gathering and, despite everyone living busy lives, it is always important to take time out to share thoughts, offer encouragement and make new contacts.

“This new forum offers all of these things and, under Sharon’s guidance, I have no doubt that the initiative will go from strength to strength.”

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Picture Unity Enterprise Chair Sharon Jandu OBE addressing the inaugural West Yorkshire Ethnic Minority Women in Tech roundtable.   About 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 1,386 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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