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New initiative to find and develop Leeds entrepreneurs hailed a success

A specially tailored course designed to equip aspiring entrepreneurs in Leeds with the skills and knowledge to start up their own sustainable business has received high praise from the first group of participants.

Steps to Business, organised by Unity Enterprise – the not for profit subsidiary of Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise – was held over four days last month at Unity Business Centre in Chapeltown.

It included a series of three-hour workshops, facilitated by leading training company PeoplePlus, covering a broad selection of topics ranging from marketing and bookkeeping through to guidance on how to transform an initial idea into a viable business concept.

Feedback from participants has been universally positive.

Andrew, who took part in the programme, said: “It was the best business workshop I have attended.”

Miguel, who also attended, said: “It was inspiring.”

Tracey said: “Steps to Business workshops was fantastic, I attended all four sessions. It has allowed me to focus on what is necessary to start a business, adjust what I thought I knew and give me brand new tools to move forward with.  I would highly recommend this course to my friends as I believe this is something that is needed especially in the community and this current climate.”

Following the success of the programme in its first rollout, Steps to Business will run again from 17 to 20 April.

Richard Aitoro, Business Advisor at Unity Enterprise, said:

“The sessions were interactive and highly engaging which served to not only inform those taking part but inspire and motivate them along a positive entrepreneurial trajectory.

“The individual modules were in depth, leaving everyone involved with a good level of insight into each topic covered.

“The PeoplePlus course facilitators were highly engaging, witty and altogether positive.

“The supportive atmosphere created a space where participants exchanged numbers and said they would enjoy attending other courses as part of the workshop group.”

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive, said:

“We are really pleased at how well Steps to Business went first time around, as underlined by our decision to run a second programme in April.

“Unity is fully committed to doing all we can to identify and develop entrepreneurial talent in the local community including through the provision of interactive training from experienced business professionals.

“PeoplePlus are leaders in this field and the ideal partners for this innovative venture.

“I would urge people of all ages who believe they have a sound business idea and a commitment to make it succeed to consider signing up for the next round of Steps to Business.

“It is a decision with the potential to transform their lives.”

Anyone interested in joining the next Steps to Business programme should contact Richard Aitoro at [email protected] or Tel: 07395 328123.

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Picture A Steps to Business workshop at Unity Business Centre in Leeds   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 more than 1,300 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.   About PeoplePlus PeoplePlus is a leading skills and training business helping people to transform their lives and businesses through work, training, education and financial advice. It helps people source and retain sustainable employment, whilst working with employers to develop work forces of the future.

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