UMIC’s city centre incubator fully occupied

An incubator for small businesses underneath the Piccadilly Station approach railway arches in Manchester is now fully occupied.

The University of Manchester Innovation Centre’s (UMIC) North Campus Incubator houses Kaya Travel, Greenlight Computer, Frontier PR, Dexter Intelligence, App Focus and Siyemi.

Known as ‘The Arches’, the incubator is based off Sackville Street in the city centre.

Heilwig Jones, founder and director of Kaya Responsible Travel, moved her staff into the centre six years ago.

The former advertising director launched Kaya, which offers volunteer and internship placements on over 150 sustainable community development and environmental initiatives in Asia, Africa and Latin America, after quitting her role as an advertising director in London almost 10 years ago.

She said: “Moving to ‘The Arches’ has been an amazing step forward for Kaya.

“We have five staff in Manchester who have plenty of room to meet with volunteers and interns interested in our projects, which exist in 27 countries across four continents.”

Jones, whose involvement volunteering in the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami inspired her to quit London and launch Kaya, said she employs five other people in offices in Massachusetts, US and the Philippines.

“Spending four months assisting in the aftermath of the Tsunami made me realise the potential for people who love to travel to make a real difference,” said Jones.

“At Kaya we offer something for everyone and are delighted to be based at UMIC’s North Campus Incubator along with plenty of other interesting small businesses.”

The Arches reaching full occupancy comes after The University of Manchester Innovation Centre’s (UMIC) Events business reported a record year, with occupancy levels up by 50% on the previous year.

Yvonne Loughlin, head of UMIC, said: “One of the keys to the success of ‘The Arches’ is the collaboration and support of all the individual companies working together, sharing ideas and becoming a hub for the Hi-Tec business community.”