The UK’s youngest City, Bradford teems with energy, enterprise and ambition and 30 Chapel Street is fast becoming one of its key crucibles of ideas, collaboration and change. 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 fasted growing economy. As part of Impact Hub’s global family, 30 Chapel Street 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 30 Chapel St epitomise Bradford’s pioneering traditions, global outlook and social conscience and Impact Hub can only benefit from their presence.Kersten England, CEO – Bradford Metropolitan District Council
A living lab
Bradford is a unique amongst British cities, with a population of 534’000 where 30.2% are under 20 years old and nearly 70% below the age of 50.
In addition to being one of the youngest British cities, Bradford is also one of the most diverse, with more than a third of the district’s residents being of non-White origin and uniquely 20.3% are from a Pakistani background.
Our thesis for 30 Chapel Street is that our city’s youth and diversity are potent ingredients for a risk-taking, experimental and creative culture of innovation. The city’s youth makes it innately entrepreneurial and its diversity offers a vibrant backdrop of social frictions and creative collisions that are vital for innovation.
We believe that Bradford’s demographics and our founding team’s backgrounds in arts, technology, civil service and sowcial enterprise offers us the opportunity to become a curator and orchestrator of the city’s innovators and a unique “living lab” for civic, social and creative innovation.
Ranked in the top ten cities by Gross Value Added, Bradford’s economy is worth over £9.5bn, ranked only behind Leeds and Sheffield in Yorkshire and the eighth largest economy in England.
Interestingly, Barclays noted at the end of 2017 that Bradford is the best city in the country to start a business, based on key growth factors such as infrastructure, connectivity and productivity.
With an employed population of 198600, distributed across 17620 businesses, the district accounts for 15% of the Leeds City Region’s economy, with new business creation outperforming the wider region.
Major employers include Morrison’s, Provident Financial, Yorkshire Building Society and Hallmark Cards, Yorkshire Water, Santander including two FTSE100 companies. 1200 manufacturing businesses employ 25000 in the district; a growing digital industries sector employs 4500 across 700 businesses. Crucially, 33400 are self-employed, a category that is also outpacing the national average.
In October 2018 Channel 4 announced it is to open a new HQ in Leeds moving 200 of its 800 staff to the new HQ. Currently as students in media/technical studies graduate they have to move away to find employment. By having a physical presence in the city we aim to provide an alternative base to moving away and the Channel 4 move will reinforce that option.
The bulk of the city’s small and medium businesses also demonstrate a high rate of international shipping, based on data from international couriers, suggesting the city’s composition of various diaspora has a direct economic benefit.
The city’s economic strategy
The city’s recently published economic strategy for 2018-2030 highlights four opportunity areas which align with our own thesis about the role of Impact Hub Bradford.
- A young and enterprising population.
- A distinctive offer – harnessing cultural, heritage and architectural assets.
- Growth potential.
- A globally connected district