Lord Mayor gives blessing to new Leeds business incubator

The Lord Mayor of Leeds has formally opened a new business incubator to boost the prospects of start-up companies in the city.

Cllr Jane Dowson cut the ribbon in a ceremony at Unity Business Centre in Chapeltown alongside senior representatives from project hosts Unity Homes and Enterprise and their partners iota Business.

The tailored facility offers shared office space to entrepreneurs, together with access to specialist support services, business mentoring and networking events.       

Addressing guests including local small business owners, the Lord Mayor said: “It is a great pleasure to see businesses developing within the city.  There are tonnes of things that you’re going to be able to do here.  I love the set-up because there are face-to-face contacts with other people.  You’ve got private rooms and can invite people in to meet you.  There is everything you need to set up your business.”

Cllr Dowson added: “Doing it all on your own can be hugely debilitating because it’s a frightening step to take.  This business incubator will give that confidence to turn the bright and brilliant idea into something that will actually work.  I look forward in years to come to coming out to see your businesses expand because this is a starter, not a finish.” 

  The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Jane Dowson (centre right), cuts the ribbon at the new incubator, supported by Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive Ali Akbor (centre) and iota Business co-founder Cristine Wilson (centre left) 

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Jane Dowson (centre right), cuts the ribbon at the new incubator, supported by Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive Ali Akbor (centre) and iota Business co-founder Cristine Wilson (centre left) 

Unity Business Centre is one of three sites in Leeds operated by Unity Enterprise, a subsidiary of Unity Homes and Enterprise, which collectively provide 130 managed workspaces for around 80 businesses, social enterprises and third sector bodies.

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

Commenting on the initiative, Adrian Green, Unity Enterprise manager, told the gathering: “This new business hub is something very close to my heart.  Working with iota Business, it will encourage entrepreneurs out of their bedrooms into cost-effective accommodation on a flexible basis, with the added benefit of having chartered accountants, business advisers and other experts on-hand.” 

Kari Walker, iota Business co-founder, said: “There are so many talented people out there and they don’t have the contacts, they don’t always have the finance, they don’t often have the confidence to take that first step into running their own business, to make that leap.  What the business incubator hopes to do is give them a bit of that confidence, give them a guiding hand.  This community really deserves that helping hand.”

Ali Akbor, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive, told attendees: “It is exciting for us to have this incubator opening at the Unity Business Centre.  Working in partnership with iota Business, I’m delighted that we’re able to offer a service to the business community, particularly to new businesses, to encourage them to employ and train a lot of people.  I wish you a lot of success.  We’re here to support you as much as we can.”       

Businesses seeking more information about the incubator scheme or other services provided by Unity Enterprise can contact Adrian Green on Tel: 0113 242 5996 or email: adrian.green@unityha.co.uk