In this series we ask key figures in the region and from our core sectors to share their insights.
We spoke to Kamran Rashid, Chief Executive of Impact Hub Bradford and Trustee of Bradford City of Culture, about his ambitions for Bradford District and the wider City Region.
What is the role of Impact Hub Bradford?
We’re a social innovation and co-working space in the heart of Bradford, working with social entrepreneurs and change-makers who want to make a difference to society.
We’re here to serve some of the most underserved communities in Bradford and that takes in a whole host of demographics and backgrounds from both the urban and rural parts of our district and the wider City Region.
We’re about delivering impact, not just enterprise, so we’re providing advice, mentoring, training and access to an incredible support network for people whose business plan is aligned to the triple bottom-line of people and planet as well as profit.
Bradford is part of a global network of over 100 impact hubs in 55 countries across the world, focusing on disadvantaged communities and helping social entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition.
What sort of businesses and organisations do you support?
Bradford is an incredibly diverse and innovative community and we’re working with around 500 entrepreneurs every year, providing working space and direct support.
Those businesses include a boxing academy – established by world champion super featherweight Tasif Khan, who was born in Bradford and wanted to give something back to his community and Net Zero specialists Greenstreet, who are helping businesses across the region make those small adjustments which will help them reduce their carbon emissions and contribute to a healthier environment.
We’re also working with I.T. specialists, social care providers, health and well-being organisations, designers, artists and poets – all having a positive impact on people’s lives across the region. Many of those organisations have played an invaluable role in supporting Braford’s bid to be City of Culture in 2025.
What role do our region’s universities and innovation hubs such as Nexus play?
There is a great deal we can learn from each other and working collaboratively means we can move faster and further.
We’re working on a social investment programme worth more than £6 million with the University of Bradford as well as Innovative Entrepreneurs, a partnership initiative supported by the Leeds University Business School, Leeds Beckett University and with lead partner Nexus. Innovative Entrepreneurs will see us co-hosting and organising a series of collaborative workshops and networking events.
The success stories of Nexus business members are a huge inspiration and we will certainly aim to signpost any of our members to that community, where that next level, scale-up support is required. For our part, we can demonstrate the incredible opportunities and impacts created by social entrepreneurism and show how social enterprise can benefit the economy, the environment and people’s lives.
What can we look forward to on the Impact Hub’s events calendar this year?
We’re launching a major recruitment drive in 2023 to support our growth and help us to work with even more social innovators. We’re looking for people with a desire to give something back to the region and also to ensure Bradford’s voice is heard as part of the 108-strong international Impact Hub community.
We’re really looking forward to working with the Royal Society of Arts for a special event here on 16 March and we’ll also be launching the next season of our incredibly popular TEDx Bradford talks from 15 June at Bradford’s St George’s Hall – focusing on the theme of creative industry and culture so keep your eyes peeled on our website for for these!
What are your ambitions for Bradford District and the wider City Region?
We have an incredibly inviting and welcoming environment here, great places to work, extensive support networks and an investment and grant-making community, which is awake to initiatives that can make money in an innovative way, whilst making a difference to people’s lives.
Bradford has a very young and dynamic population – 50% is under the age of 25 – and reflects the UK think tank Demos finding that 83% of the millennial generation is more likely to seek a career that makes a difference to society.
We know that the more businesses we nurture that provide good jobs in caring and compassionate environments, the more we will benefit people’s health, relationships, families and wider communities, building opportunities, raising the standard of living and growing our regional economy.
The many outstanding cities within our region need to see themselves as a joined-up force in that mission. This is about collaboration not competition: the sum is always greater than its parts.
Ultimately, I want us to be seen nationally – and internationally – as a region and destination for people who want to do business in a more compassionate way. We have all the ingredients here to make that happen.
Explore more insights from our ‘the view from here’ series:
The View from Here – Mark Casci
We spoke to Mark Casci, award-winning business and features editor with the Yorkshire Post for 14 years and now Head of Representation and Policy for West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, about what he sees as the major opportunities and challenges for our region.