Leeds Beckett and AW Hainsworth join forces to launch new creative business hub

10 November 2016

A new hub to provide a dynamic and supportive co-working environment for new and growing creative, fashion and textile companies is set to be launched by Leeds Beckett University and specialist Leeds textile company, AW Hainsworth.

The Creative, Fashion and Textile Hub is set to launch in September 2016.  The space, within the historic Hainsworth mill, has been newly-converted to create an attractive, creative working environment for Hub members. 

The partnership developed after Adam Hainsworth, Company Director for AW Hainsworth, spoke about how innovation helped the company become a leading competitor at an Innovation Network Event hosted by Leeds Beckett University and The Yorkshire Post last November.  The Hub has been set up in response to AW Hainsworth’s commitment to support education and enterprise and Leeds Beckett University’s support of new and growing businesses.  It will help to support and sustain business growth by providing a collaborative space for those building businesses in the creative, fashion and textile industries, alongside expert mentoring, business training and networking services via Leeds Beckett’s Enterprise and Innovation Hub.

The Creative, Fashion and Textile Hub offers members the opportunity to work alongside, and take inspiration from, fellow creative entrepreneurs whilst having exclusive access to AW Hainsworth’s quality textiles and cloths. The full service, which costs from £160 + VAT per month, also includes: a dedicated desk available from 7am to 7pm daily, a flexible rolling monthly contract, the opportunity to register a business at AW Hainsworth or the Enterprise and Innovation Hub’s city centre address, access to free networking events, expert mentoring, free access to the Enterprise and Innovation Hub’s business training programme, and a year’s free membership of the Leeds, West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.  Hub members can also access a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic AW Hainsworth’s mill. 

Rob Pearce, Founder of Funky Chalk, a company specialising in the bespoke manufacture of snooker and pool cues, cases and accessories, runs his business from the AW Hainsworth premises. He said: “I’ve always wanted my own business since being a kid and love the process of buying and selling. As my business grew, AW Hainsworth provided more space and acted as stepping stones, helping my business become fully independent.

The Hub is like an incubator for new businesses. It will help you grow and provide the support to becoming independent. Most importantly though, you are part of a new business community and will meet like-minded people who you can discuss ideas with and get opinions from, share contacts and advice with, and can inspire and motivate each other. The biggest two challenges faced by a fledgling entrepreneur is finding the right business opportunity and then making the transition from working for someone else to working for yourself, with your own premises. The Hub can help with this essential transition and development stage.”  

Simon Baldwin, Acting Head of Enterprise at Leeds Beckett University, commented:

We are delighted to be working in partnership with AW Hainsworth at an exciting time for the fashion and textile industry in and around Leeds. Our facility here will support the creation and growth of new and innovative businesses which will help translate Leeds’s historic association with textile and fashion to the new digital generation.

“Our fashion degree courses at Leeds Beckett will produce their first graduates next summer and this facility provides a viable option for students to consider establishing their own business in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and AW Hainsworth.”

Adam Hainsworth, Company Director at AW Hainsworth, said:

“We are delighted to be part of this new venture with Leeds Beckett University.  The cultivation of the next generation of creative talent is hugely important to the region and the creative industries.  To be able to play a part in supporting new creative talent alongside such a well-respected organisation is hugely exciting and rewarding for AW Hainsworth.  We are looking forward to seeing how the talent develops.

Fran Parkinson, Leeds Beckett Enterprise and Innovation Hub Operations Manager, added:

“Fashion is a rapidly growing industry in Leeds and home to companies such as Harvey Nichols, Burberry and the new John Lewis due to open later this year.  We are delighted to partner with AW Hainsworth to create this exciting space for creative, fashion and textile entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.  We are confident that Creative, Fashion and Textile Hub members will greatly benefit from the opportunity to work collaboratively and from being based in such an attractive historic location’’.  

AW Hainsworth has been an unrivaled market leader for 230 years. Hainsworth fabric has clothed royalty and the military for full-dress ceremonial occasions and has embellished and enriched the furnishings of palaces across the world.  Their product range includes fabrics for the fashion, interiors, PPE and Retail markets among many others.

The Creative, Fashion and Textile Hub builds on the success of Leeds Beckett’s city centre Digital Hub for digital, creative and media businesses. Achille Traore, who runs two businesses the Digital Hub: Top Screen Media and Perks Loyalty, commented: “Being part of the Digital Hub has been a valuable experience. It encourages cooperation between ambitious and like-minded businesses sharing a co-working space. The wider support provided by the Enterprise and Innovation Hub, specifically access to a business mentor and networking events, have been a huge help to my businesses.''

For further information about the Creative, Fashion and Textile Hub please visit