Leeds-based Unity Homes and Enterprise has taken the lead in helping its business tenants to grow by organising a series of breakfast seminars and workshops facilitated by industry experts.

Delivered in partnership with Path Yorkshire, a charity specialising in projects that tackle education, social and economic inequalities, two events have been held in recent weeks.

In June, online specialist Simon Reed from SJT Solutions led a well-attended session on the innovative use of social media and websites to attract new customers and increase sales.

And in another busy gathering earlier this month, freelance consultant Nick Wayne drew on his wide experiences to highlight the importance of marketing for business success.

In early September, Theresa Thomas from Leeds City College will talk about the benefits of taking on apprentices and will also guide attendees through the details of the apprenticeship levy which the Government hopes will help to create three million new opportunities for young people by 2020.

Adrian Green is manager of Unity Enterprise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unity Homes and Enterprise, which provides 130 managed workspaces for around 80 businesses, social enterprises and third sector bodies on three sites close to Leeds city centre.

He said:

“Working with Path Yorkshire and colleagues in Unity Employment Services, our specialist unit which helps the communities we serve to access jobs and training, we launched a survey asking what could be done to help Unity’s business tenants to achieve greater commercial outcomes.

“We were delighted by the number and clarity of responses received. The result is the quality of events we have arranged so far, each focused on a specific area of business support. And the programme has gathered a momentum of its own.

“In the autumn we have scheduled two breakfast workshops, one on people development and a second on business planning. Further sessions are also in the planning.

“We are confident that these efforts will deliver real added value for our tenants.”

Charlotte Raffo, owner and design director of The Monkey Puzzle Tree, has attended both seminars held so far and is delighted with the results.

She said:

“In addition to the expert advice and tips I have picked up, the events have given me the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs.

“After one conversation over bacon sandwiches, Michael Millward from Path Yorkshire published a blog post about my business.

“I also met Amrit Choda from the LEP growth service who put me in touch with the Ad:Venture scheme, and they are now looking into match funding a PR campaign for me.

“It has proven to be time very well spent and I am grateful to Unity for their foresight in putting the meetings together.”

Ali Akbor, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive, said:

“The regeneration of sustainable communities is not just about providing high quality affordable homes, but also stimulating social and economic regeneration, improving life chances and addressing inequalities.

“Innovation is at the heart of everything Unity does, including our establishment of Unity Enterprise and Unity Employment Services.

“We are greatly encouraged by the success of the first two business breakfasts and look forward to many more, all hosted in our first-class conference facilities at Unity Business Centre – which are also available for hire.”

Businesses or other organisations seeking more information about Unity Enterprise can contact Adrian Green on Tel: 0113 242 5996 or email: adrian.green@unityha.co.uk

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