Making an Impact

Making an Impact

THE PANDEMIC may be battering the city but a multi-million pound initiative has launched in Bradford to help boost the local economy.

By Anila Baig

Impact Hub Bradford, a community interest company, will help foster social innovation and business development by offering aspiring entrepreneurs opportunities and space to collaborate with different sectors.

BRADFORD is only the third UK city to gain Impact Hub status- after London and Inverness- and is the brainchild of three enterprising young people from the city.

Chief Executive Officer, Kamran Rashid and co-founders Mandip Sahota and Imran Ali are the bright young team behind the hub, based in Little Germany, hoping to encourage and support fellow Bradfordians to start up their own social enterprises.

Chief executive of Bradford Council, Kersten England, heaped praise on the team calling them the ‘epitome of the city’s pioneering traditions, global outlook and social conscience.’

The trio certainly have a wealth of experience behind them.

Mr Rashid is the founder of The Socially Conscious Company, a private training and consultancy company specialising in youth culture, diversity and inclusion. He was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in February 2020 and of Bradford City of Culture 2025 Trust in November 2019.

Mr Rashid, who holds a Masters in International Politics, also worked for Unltd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

He said: “We’ve been working towards bringing an Impact Hub to Bradford for more than three years and, as the world begins to emerge from the horrors and disruption of a global pandemic, the need to work differently, collaboratively, to change society for the better has never been more apparent.

“We’re excited to be introducing Bradford to an international network that uses the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a lens through which to view our impact in the world. We want Impact Hub Bradford to be a hopeful element in the city’s recovery and a sustainable model for the future.”

Chief Creative Officer for Impact Hub, Imran Ali, is a digital expert having founded CARBON:Imagineering. He also co-founded Leeds’s first co-working community at Old Broadcasting House and has worked extensively with the city on shaping its digital strategy.

Meanwhile Chief Operating Officer Mandip Sahota’s career has spanned two decades in the public, private and non-profit sectors before she launched her own social impact agency, Strategies & Stories.

As a former civil servant, Miss Sahota developed foreign policy and advised ministers on international strategies for gender, faith, human rights and Islamic Finance at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. She is on the Advisory Board of LSE Faith Centre, a member of the Centre for Public Impact’s People’s Panel and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Birmingham.

Before the pandemic struck Bradford was hitting the headlines for all the right reasons.

Mammoth global company PwC moved to the city in 2019, the Royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which attracted the world’s media took place earlier this year and Bradford was named ‘most improved city’ in its Growth for Cities Index, driven by jobs, skills and work life balance. In 2020, The Sunday Times also named Bradford district in the 20 best places for business in the UK. With the city also preparing to bid for the UK City of Culture 2025, the future looks exciting for Bradford.

Mr Rashid said: “Impact Hub marks the next chapter in Bradford’s long history as a catalyst for social innovation. This is the city where Titus Salt created his workers’ village in the 1800s; where William Forster worked on the first national education legislation, and the city’s schools were the first to offer free meals to children. Research shows that young people want jobs that contribute to making the world a better place. We want to harness the voices of Bradford’s youthful population, building on the growing confidence in the city, to build social capital.”

Kersten England, Chief Executive of Bradford Council and a member of Impact Hub Bradford’s informal advisory board said: “Bradford teems with energy, enterprise and ambition. Entrepreneurial savvy, tech know-how and creative originality underpin a compelling vision that positions Bradford at the forefront of inclusive and sustainable innovation as we pursue our ambition to become the UK’s fastest growing economy.

“As part of Impact Hub’s global family, Impact Hub Bradford will connect the city to a world-wide network of change agents, disruptive technologies and original thinkers opening up new opportunities to exchange knowledge, join forces with social innovators and help deliver a better Bradford and a better world.

“The team at Impact Hub Bradford epitomise Bradford’s pioneering traditions, global outlook and social conscience and Impact Hub can only benefit from their presence.”

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