Park Lane College’s Director of Increasing Participation and Engagement established a successful business incubator at the OldhamCollege and when he moved to Park Lane he saw the potential to develop a similar unit at the main site in Leeds.
The concept for the Unit was first developed in early 2005. The College identified a shortage of affordable incubator space in the city and a growing demand. They also identified that the majority of existing incubators were targeted at university graduates. The College therefore set out to create something with a difference.
The plan was to develop a unit that could house up to 30 new or start up businesses at any one time and to attract women, members of the Black Minority Ethnic communities and people living in disadvantaged areas of the city.
In March 2006 confirmation of grant funding was received, with over £400 000 of ERDF capital money. This money was used to convert the ground floor of Park Lane House into a purpose built incubator unit.
The business plan allowed for a high specification conversion as the College wanted to provide an attractive and modern space for the businesses. In July 2006 an additional ERDF revenue grant of over £300 000 was won to pay for a comprehensive programme of training .
Building work commenced on 2nd October 2006 and the Unit opened for business on 27 November 2006.
The European funding supported the Unit for the first 12 months .
The College currently funds the Unit with contributions from the Train to Gain Fund, rents and fees from the businesses and support from Park Lane College.