An entrepreneur has teamed up with a property developer to help business start-ups in Bradford.
Automotive designer Afzal Kahn said he wanted to give something back to the city by building an Enterprise Village using shipping containers.
He has joined forces with St James Securities, the Leeds-based property developer behind Forster Square Retail Park, and believes the project could be up and running by autumn.
The Enterprise Village would be across Valley Road from Forster Square Retail Park. Mr Kahn already owns the site and said he initially wanted 25 to 30 shipping containers to kickstart the project, with more to follow.
“It is exciting,” said Mr Kahn.
“I have achieved all the goals in my life, and I wish at the time I started that such a scheme existed. I want to give that opportunity back to Bradford.”
Mr Kahn, speaking from his A.Kahn Design headquarters on Canal Road, Bradford, insisted the project was solely for new business start-ups.
“It is open to any age – even if someone is 65 we will help them set up,” said Mr Kahn.
“We will help you manage the business. You will not be on your own, there’s no fear. There will be 25 to 30 new start-ups together.
“They don’t have to worry about long leases, and there will be very minimal cost to the shop-owners.”
Mr Kahn, who started out about 30 years ago with a grant from a business enterprise scheme, said there will be a strict list of criteria for prospective businesses.
He said of the site’s location: “This is one of the busiest retail parks in the country. It isn’t stuck in the middle of nowhere, and it is right next to a train station.”
The shipping containers will be fitted out with essentials such as electrics and alarms. A planning application will be submitted within the next two months and it is hoped to have the enterprise village up and running by the autumn.
Paul Morris, director at St James Securities, said: “I think it is a great idea. It is just such a good thing for the city.
“Lots of people have got businesses from home. Giving them a shop window and a base will help them “This is not our core thing but when Afzal Kahn told us about it, we wanted to back it.
“The whole idea of this is not to draw, or re-locate, or displace – whether that is market traders or people in shops.
“It is for people who do not have any premises whatsoever – people working out of bedrooms, garages or whatever.”
A spokesman for Bradford Council said: “Preliminary discussions have taken place with the developers about their proposals for this site. Once a planning application has been submitted the Council will fully advertise the details and invite public opinion.”
To register an interest in taking up one of the containers, or for more information, e-mail email@example.com.