Allia's Future Business Centre in East London supports 100 ventures and helps create jobs


Allia - the not-for-profit based in Cambridge & Peterborough - opened its East London Future Business Centre exactly one year ago, to support economic growth and local job creation within East London.

In just one year, Allia Future Business Centre based in Hackney can boast that it has supported over 100 ventures, creating new jobs in East London. The centre is the fourth Future Business Centre opened by Allia, an independent not-for-profit dedicated to helping impact organisations and initiatives to thrive. From each centre, Allia runs its Serious Impact programmes which are designed to help entrepreneurs innovate, grow and scale. All ventures that join the Hackney programmes are either based in East London or are working for the benefit of East London, and all are committed to growing their businesses with a view to creating jobs for local people.

Celebrating this one-year anniversary at an engaging seminar recently, Allia was joined by JPMorgan Chase whose support helped launch the East London Future Business Centre. Entitled ‘Collaborating for change: how can we better support impact organisations in delivering an inclusive economy’, the event included a key note address from Janis Bowdler, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, who showcased their work in US cities in driving inclusive economic growth. Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney also presented focusing on similar place-based initiatives in Hackney and East London.

Allia CEO, Tim Jones opened the event highlighting Allia’s involvement in East London helping charities create greater impact since 2002 and underlined the continuing need for public, private and non-profit sectors to further collaborate and help solve economic exclusion in the local community. The lively panel discussion, which also included Professor Henrietta L Moore, Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL; and Rob Trimble, CEO of the Bromley By Bow Centre, raised the need for more local employment opportunities and Allia Managing Director of Business Viability, Caroline Hyde emphasized how venture creation and business support were vital in job creation.

On opening the Future Business Centre in Hackney in June last year, Allia launched a specialist East London incubator – an equity free programme to help local entrepreneurs innovate, grow and scale, and a new cohort has just started the next incubator. Over the year, two accelerator programmes were also run for more established businesses to grow and create new jobs in Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Tim Jones, Allia CEO said, “Allia has always understood the importance of collaborating for change – we have learnt through 20 years’ experience that working together is what creates thriving communities and enduring solutions. I’m delighted that one year on, through working in partnership with JPMorgan Chase, the Allia Future Business Centre in Hackney is already helping to empower those creating a better tomorrow, delivering positive impact and job creation in East London.”

Janis Bowdler, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, said, “At JPMorgan Chase we are actively working to drive inclusive growth in cities around the world.  It has become clear that helping create greater economic opportunity is not simply the right thing to do, it is in our self-interest. No business can outgrow the economy of its communities. Companies can and should draw on their full range of resources and apply them in ways that support and accelerate cities’ efforts to catalyse mobility for their residents.”


Short case studies of ventures from Allia Future Business Centre East London

Diversity Hut
A diversity-centered consultancy firm, which aims to help the workplace understand and represent diversity in society.

Diversity Hut is working with corporates to increase diversity and reduce inequalities within their workforces, using non-traditional channels to promote job opportunities to BME job seekers to find meaningful employment. Diversity Hut’s work aims to enable people to see their diversity or minority as an empowerment and strength, not a disadvantage.

What have they achieved on the Serious Impact programme?

The founder, Usman Shah, is now able to work full time for Diversity Hut, and was shortlisted as a finalist in the Inspiring Change Awards this year. 

“I’ve never looked back since joining the incubator. I’ve been introduced to so many people, and have learnt from their successes and mistakes. You can’t buy that knowledge. Without Allia Serious Impact I wouldn’t have got very far. It has given me belief in myself and my organisation, and everything I need to grow Diversity Hut”

A platform that connects an older person with up to three like-minded Buddies, to improve lives of older people who are feeling lonely. The aim is to alleviate loneliness and isolation and therefore improve good health and wellbeing while making friendships during the process.  

What have they achieved on the Serious Impact programme?

They faced certain challenges as a fresh startup including securing funding and accessing partnerships with organisations. Through Allia Serious Impact they felt supported through these challenges.

Buddy Hub have already built around 20 friendship wheels in a pilot, connecting various seniors and buddies, and they are now able to provide lower rates of the platform for those who are on benefits.

“The early stages of building a business can be tough and isolating, but on the Serious Impact programme everyone knows what you are going through and is on hand to give you support when you need it.”


About Allia
Allia is an independent not-for-profit with a social mission, dedicated to helping impact organisations and initiatives to grow. Allia supports those that aim to make positive change and address the most pressing global and local challenges: through flexible workspace, networking and community in its Future Business Centres (in Cambridge, London and Peterborough); a range of workshops, mentoring and business advice through its Serious Impact programme; and social finance solutions to help charities create greater impact.

Allia has been active in London for over 16 years, with bonds issued in 2002 and 2009 which funded affordable and social housing to be built, a social enterprise that delivers training for independent living and employment to be created, and assisted 264 people into jobs.

To read more information, click here.

Allia is a not-for-profit organisation that supports businesses - through flexible workspace, social finance and free business support - so that they can grow and create positive impact, on their communities and on the planet.

Allia Ltd