Impact Hub Bradford is heading into the Autumn months recharged and rebooted, with a bunch of exciting developments and changes coming up…

New Entrepreneurial Programmes
If you’re  looking to start a business, or even thinking of starting – do get in touch. We have a number of upcoming programmes designed to support people on their entrepreneurial journeys: from Build Your Business and our partnership with Swiss Re Foundation‘s Shine Programme, to the next edition of our Sustain programme and a new schools programme Social Enterprise 101, we’re looking forward to seeing a new generation of Bradford startups take on society’s biggest challenges.

Growing Membership
This Summer, we’ve been taking on new members at quite a pace, with organisations such as Martin House, Carbon Imagineering, Able Roots, Green Street, Bradford Opera Festival, Street Space and Elysium Entertainment all joining recently, with more on the way. We’re excited about the collaborations and collisions we’re already seeing between members as well as the vibe at the Hub on busy days and we’re be looking to double our membership by the end of 2022. Finally, we’re launching a new membership portal in October for members and visitors to manage their plans and bookings, including contactless check-in!

A Refreshed Hub
As our membership is growing, so too are our spaces at the Hub. In the next few weeks, we’ll be refreshing our coworking space as part of a new fit out, adding a new reception and cafe area, as well as working with spatial designer Olivia Bridge to reimagining our smallest spaces as a podcasting studio and an urban garden.

We’re really excited about the podcasting studio and welcoming content creators to use our facilities; the equipment was recommended with guidance from an audio producer at the Wall Street Journal! Along with our high-end video conferencing suite in our boardroom, its great to see how members and visitors are using these tools in their workflow.

The next few weeks will also see the launch of a refreshed website, with a cleaner look based on redesigned branding and a new, more intuitive structure.

Finally, later this year we’re intending to launch a bike pool, giving our members and staff access to a bookable pool of Impact Hub e-bikes for getting around town during their working days. We’re really looking forward to see how this might transform

Growing the Team
The team has gone from two to six over the Summer, with two community hosts, a business development manager and two enterprise coaches now working alongside the Hub’s founders. We’re still growing and looking to recruit a general manager, programme managers as well as other roles.

If you’re interesting in working with us, do get in touch. We’re looking at new and innovative ways of building relationships even before opportunities arise as an innovative way of cultivating future team members.

Wow. Six months have flashed past and our screen industries programme, The Unit has gone from an idea to a burgeoning community of almost a hundred filmmakers across Bradford.

The Unit team – Banita, Jordan and Jax – have done an incredible job delivering the programme in Bradford. From a monthly newsletter to regular writer’s roundtables and filmmaker talks, to panel discussions and workshops on subjects ranging from script supervision, mental health issues, freelancing. The team has drawn in partners to delivery drop-in sessions on immersive technologies and also convened regular socials for the screen community.

The Unit’s created a real buzz around the future of film in Bradford and now we’re now preparing for the second half of the year-long programme and sending The Unit team to a new home at Keighley Creative. Here they’ll be extending their support and expertise to more filmmakers and screen professionals in another of the district’s creative hubs.

The Unit will begin operating in Keighley at the beginning of October – do follow their socials to find out about their upcoming launch plans at Keighley Creative. You can find out more at

Ayub Younis recently joined our Build Your Business programme as a Business Enterprise Coach, alongside Imran Hussain. Ayub has hit the ground running and is now into his third week in the role. We wanted to hear about his first few weeks and the journey that’s brought him to Bradford.

Tell us your story Ayub – your journey as an entrepreneur, your influences and the experiences that have brought you to this role.
I was born and raised in Bradford, actually in BD5 and was part of various youth schemes and volunteer groups throughout my childhood, including YouthBuild, the West Bowling Youth Initiative. One of the first residential trips I went on as part of this group was to Pisa, Italy – for a conference on European identity, along with councillors from our city. Two days later, the Bradford riots started and we had to answer lots of questions about my hometown as the news made its way around the world!

After training as a plumber, I moved to London and remained their for sixteen years, working in my trained profession and then later as part of my family’s business – Boynton Executive Cars – providing office management, security and chauffeur services for Chelsea FC’s football players. I was in this role for eight years and it allowed me to form professional networks across London, working with suppliers and entrepreneurs and even spending a couple of years working in Rome!

How will you be working alongside Imran and the wider Build Your Business
I’ve learned a hell of a lot in the last few weeks – from my fellow coach Imran, from the Build Your Business team and listening to the budding entrepreneurs accessing our support from across the city. As Imran continues to support the City Ward’s startups, I’ll be focussing on developing our presence in Barkerend, an area in which I have many deep connections with communities, councillors and the local MP.

Though I lived away from Bradford for many years, I remained connected with the city – my morning routine was to check the Telegraph & Argus and Facebook’s Bradford groups! So, my ear’s always to the ground and I’ll be aiming to connect our entrepreneurs with the right organisations, groups and the networks I’ve maintained over the years.

What’re you aiming to achieve in the coming months with the programme and its impact?
One of the most important qualities for a coach is to be an active listener, to understand where someone’s at in their entrepreneurial journey and how committed and serious they are. Alongside this, I’m refreshing my knowledge of governance and technology as well as cultivating my existing networks with alternative ways of reaching them.

I’m keen to reach those in deprived areas that might not be too confident in using digital means to access our support – this means getting out, meeting entrepreneurs, being visible, listening and being available. Already, I’ve started dialogue with community organisations such as Unltd, Womenzone and Karmand Community Centre –  my target is to support five entrepreneurs each month.



What are you finding interesting about Bradford as a place for startups and entrepreneurs
It feels like a great time to be back in Bradford. I think the the City of Culture coming in 2025 is going to drive a lot of entrepreneurial growth; money and investment will begin to arrive in the next few years as many of the city’s entrepreneurs will want to build on the uptick in tourism and new developments such as the new Street Market, Bradford Live and the proposed urban village.

Bradford’s been known for its food entrepreneurs and that’s a large segment of the entrepreneurs we’ve been supporting with Build your Business,  but I’m very excited to see where cultural and civic entrepreneurs are going to start to build on the new investments in the city.

We’re very excited to be working with our friends at the Ubele Initiative and Access (The Foundation for Social Investment) – on the next round of funding from the Enterprise Development Programme, a five-year programme of support and up to £30000 funding, with a focus on minoritised communities.

Successful applicants will not only receive a grant, but join a cohort of other grant recipients from their sector, to learn and develop together. The programme includes…

The application process involve two stages, with the next round – Black and Minoritised Communities – opening in September…

Tuesday 6th September- 10am Stage 1 Applications Open
Tuesday 27 September- 12 noon Stage 1 Applications Close
Thursday 29th September – 10am Stage 2 Applications Open
Monday 24th October – 12 noon Stage 2 Applications Close

You can find out more about the programme at, but we’ll also be hosting an in-person briefing event on 12th September from 2-3:30 pm to introduce the programme, build awareness and provide guidance for potential applicants. Do follow the link below to register your place and find out more.

Register Now

We’d like to give a special shout out to our legal partners Schofield Sweeney LLP and in particular Basharat Ali, one of their partners with deep experience in property portfolios and commercial leases.

Basharat has been a wonderful partner to Impact Hub Bradford, lending his pro bono insight and experience to our entrepreneurial journey over a long and fruitful period. As we’ve grown from a small project office in Little Germany, to taking over the old Digital Exchange, we’ve had incisive legal support from Basharat in how we approach the management and development of creative and innovative spaces. We’re really excited to continue this partnership as we look ahead to the development of 30 Chapel Street in coming years.

You can read more about Basharat and Schofield Sweeney at… and



Collisions and connectedness are two of the fundamental tenets of our work here at Impact Hub Bradford, from connecting members to each other, to collaborations amongst our programme participants.

More recently, we’ve been cultivating relationships between sponsors and donors and considering what kind of match we could broker between individuals and organisations which donate to the Hub and members of our wider community.

So we’re really excited to announce the first sponsorship of one of our members, by a sponsor organisation – ITC, a locally based business communications provider and Green Street, an organisation that helps to develop greener British high streets and generate greater prosperity in the retail and hospitality sector.

Green Street - Working towards a greener Bradford  its. Telecoms Simplified

ITC’s Managing Director, Nasar Hussain, has kindly sponsored Green Street founder Victoria Robertshaw‘s membership of Impact Hub and in turn their mission in working towards a greener Bradford.

Victoria & Nasar

Nasar was a special guest at our digital launch, back in October 2020. Even at such an early stage in Impact Hub’s journey, he was keen to support members and the Hub, noting that: “As a local business, I’m looking forward to working with social enterprises and really encourage more businesses to get involved.”

Recently, Green Street have partnered with First Bus to launch the Go Greener fund and have been developing #GreenStreetBradford, a pilot programme to inform future Green Street initiatives and formulate policy ideas to present to the Government, specifically tailored around SME retailer and consumer needs.

We’re very excited to accept Nasar and ITC’s support and pleased to see how this is translating into the vital and necessary work Green Street are undertaking for a more sustainable economy.

If you’re an organisation interesting in supporting the social impact missions of our members or Impact Hub Bradford, do get in touch

Impact Hub Bradford was recently featured in the Connected Places Catapult magazine as part of a vision for what “inclusive innovation” could be and how the innovation economy can create opportunities and benefits for people and communities from all corners of the country.

Our Chief Creative Officer, Imran Ali contributed to the piece with some thoughts on the approach taken by the Hub here in Bradford…

Bradford’s Impact Hub is a social innovation hub and co-working space with collaboration and co-design at its heart.

To target Bradford’s under-served communities – women, young people and people of colour – Impact Hub Bradford has aligned itself with the city’s economic strategy.

Chief Creative Officer, Imran Ali, summarises the hub’s approach:

”We believe diversity brings better outcomes to all entrepreneurial endeavours, but is absolutely vital to those pursuing social impact.”

So how much impact is the Impact Hub having?

We can point to a number of examples:

“Our two-day programme, The 35, brought together minority leaders from across the city for a series ofworkshops on common challenges. The cohort found mutual support in each other’s journeys, and strategies for building resilience into their work.

“Our 2019 edition of TEDxBradford was a day- long event connected by the theme ‘Radically Social’. Half the contributors were women and over a third were people of colour. This diverse representation helped attract over 300 attendees notably, as the audience could see themselves and their issues represented on stage.”

“Finally, our SUSTAIN programme was a six-month series of masterclasses, workshops and individual coaching for social impact organisations challenged by the impact of COVID-19. SUSTAIN was developed in collaboration with PwC Foundation.”

Ali believes the Impact Hub’s ability to listen has been key to their successes.

“Think of compassion and empathy as core design materials. Use them to create products and services that matter. Inclusivity through co-design will ensure your communities feel ownership and agency over what you’re doing.”

You can find the full article – including inclusive innovation perspectives from leaders in Birmingham and Glasgow, as well as research reports in to place leadership – in the current issue of Connected Places Catapult.

Launch of Local Access Bradford District marks another chapter in Bradford’s ongoing legacy of social innovation

Local Access Bradford District (LABD) has brought together a diverse partnership of social and business leaders to imagine and create a social investment loan fund to support the VCSE sector and improve the lives of people in Bradford. Organisations representing social investment, enterprise support, corporates, social enterprises and local communities – including Impact Hub Bradford CIC, Key Fund, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, University of Bradford, Inspired Neighbourhoods, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Airedale Enterprises and OnTrak – have pooled their talents to create an inclusive and collaborative partnership with the district’s citizens to tackle its biggest challenges and create a culture of social innovation.

In 2019 Access (The Foundation for Social Investment) and Big Society Capital invited twelve cities to submit proposals to their ten-year £33m programme of support for charities and social enterprises. Together, a consortium of Bradford organisations led by Impact Hub Bradford CIC developed a concept and proposal that led to the city’s selection, unlocking £6.6m of funding to build resilience and provoke social innovation. This initiative is now launching as Local Access Bradford District, providing a foundation for social innovation in Bradford in the coming decade.

In April 2019, the consortium published a concept paper on the role of Bradford district as a “lab for social innovation”, followed by a detailed proposal in December of that year. This opened a period of consultation and codesign – extending through 2020 and 2021 – across the district, listening to communities, responding to their needs, and developing a deeply collaborative proposal shaped by the future beneficiaries of the partnership.

Some of the highlights of this codesign process included a series of public Codesigning Social Impact workshops on:

The partnership will be focussing on supporting organisations, which have investable ideas, to move along the pathway to investment with three main interventions…

With a blended investment offer, the partnership has looked to build on Key Fund’s knowledge and expertise of the products that might be needed by the target market of organisations, including:

Ultimately, the partnership’s vision for the programme is that by 2030, Bradford district is…

The Chair of Inspired Neighbourhoods Lucy Mairs said:

“This investment of £6 million in Bradford District will provide a much-needed support to VCSE sector organisations.  This work will significantly contribute towards delivering high impact aligned with City of Culture Bid, Bradford Economic Strategy and Sustainable growth.”

Kamran Rashid, CEO of Impact Hub Bradford, said he is:

“excited to secure this investment and now pass the baton to Inspired Neighbourhoods who will support the partnership to deliver the programme and change lives.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the programme can contact Local Access Bradford District at:

Notes to Editors

Media enquiries to be made through

About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital exists to improve the lives of people in the UK through social impact investing. We unite ideas, expertise and capital to create investment solutions for the UK’s social challenges, supporting organisations that deliver both positive social impact and sustainable financial returns. So far, we have helped channel £2.2 billion* into investments tackling a wide range of problems such as homelessness, mental ill health and childhood obesity.

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About Access

Access – The Foundation for Social Investment works to make charities and social enterprises in England more financially resilient and self-reliant, so that they can sustain or increase their impact. Access does this by supporting the development of enterprise activity to grow and diversify income, and improving access to the social investment which can help stimulate that enterprise activity.

Access is a ten year spend-down foundation, but the need for this work will continue well beyond that. So the approach of the Foundation is to work through others to create partnerships which can outlive us, test and learn from new approaches, and generate knowledge which improves the work of others seeking the same goals. Set up in 2015, Access was endowed with £60 million by the Government to support more organisations to access social investment. It also runs the Growth Fund, a blended finance programme supporting small scale lending to the sector, on behalf of the National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital. Over the last three years Access has received a further £40m of funds from dormant bank accounts to develop blended finance programmes in six communities around England and support the sector recover from the pandemic.

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Earlier today we hosted the first of four city visits from Business in the Community’s Seeing is Believing programme, immersing business leaders in place-based regeneration.

Amanda Mackenzie (the Chief Executive of BITC) was joined by Alison Rose (Chief Executive of NatWest Group, over breakfast with  business leaders from across the district and some words from our own CEO, Kamran Rashid.

Find out more at…

Our CEO, Kamran Rashid, is also one of the founding directors of Bradford’s bid to become the UK City of Culture 2025. With news of the bid’s success, we wanted to share his reflections on the journey so far…

Today, here in Coventry, I’m finding myself both humbled and excited by the news of Bradford’s success at winning the contest for City of Culture 2025. 

It really doesn’t seem like three years since our city’s journey began – I’ve seen such confidence, competence, compassion and celebration of my hometown in that time, it’s impossible to see how deeply transformational this process will be for Bradford and indeed how much it has transformed the city’s perception of itself and its potential already.

My own journey began in December 2018 at the Alhambra Theatre, when the city announced its intention to compete for this accolade; almost a year later in September 2019 I spoke at the launch of the bid at Bradford’s Kala Sangam in the morning and later that evening, at the South Bank Arts Centre in London.

My overriding motivation along this journey was my daughter – I wanted the city I was born in to be one which she could be proud of; one in which she could flourish and one where her prospects would exceed mine. I spoke at those launch events about how a City of Culture would be vital for my daughter’s generation and transformational for a city which has been generous to many, yet underserved.

Finding a place for the underserved became an additional motivation; for a city shaped by immigration, we needed to ensure that our bid was deeply inclusive of those overlooked and underserved, both in the past and to ensure its future sustained a new inclusivity, reflective of our diversity.

I joined the board of the 2025 bid in November 2019 with this in mind, bringing my perspectives on inclusion and diversity to gatherings such as the South Asian Business dinner and creating space for the voices of women, people of color and young people in my contributions as a board director; I’m really pleased that our appointments such as Richard Shaw, our CEO, have reflected these perspectives and had a conscious intention to remove barriers and make space for the underrepresented.

In 2020 and 2021, our work continued through the challenges and distresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this didn’t slow or diminish our ambitions, or our ability to create space for our district’s voices. It’s important in this moment of celebration and excitement to note the civic duty, belief in Bradford and the sacrifices of many that have led to today’s momentous decision.

I’m more than a little overwhelmed, but thrilled and excited that 2025 will bring the hope that I wanted for my daughter. She’ll have belief in her city as a place which will do well for her and one which she in turn can contribute to herself in future too.

2025 will carry all our hopes and of that I’m proud to have played a part.