City continues history of social innovation with new hub

(L-R) Imran Ali, Kamran Rashid, Mandip Sahota

The first Impact Hub in the North of England has launched in Bradford, bringing to the city the world’s largest networks of social entrepreneurs and marking the next chapter of 30 Chapel Street, a hub for social innovation.

Following successfully securing £6.6m to develop programmes to tackle inequality through boosting the social economy, a consortium led by 30 Chapel Street a new community interest company, Impact Hub Bradford has been launched to help foster social innovation, enterprise, ideas incubation and business development, offering aspiring entrepreneurs, opportunities and space to collaborate.

Bradford now joins London and Inverness as one of only three UK cities to have Impact Hub status, which provides access to a global network of more than 100 hubs across 50 countries.

The bid was led by an all Bradford-born the team which includes the hub’s newly appointed CEO, Kamran Rashid and co-founders Mandip Sahota and Imran Al. The trio established  30 Chapel Street to deliver the work necessary to join Impact Hub’s global network and has worked in partnership with organisations including TED, the Royal Society of Arts and Red Bull

Rashid 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.”

The hub will now host host a programme of events and offer a range of services to social enterprises, SMEs, microbusinesses, artists, performers, designers and makers who want to make a positive social impact.

Rashid added, “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.

“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.”

The first Impact Hub event, a digital launch, will take place on 8th September.