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Bristol Post Business Awards: Unite Students take top award

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Written by: Admin | Posted 06 July 2016 14:06

Bristol Post Business Awards: Unite Students take top award

AN industry leading student accommodation provider has won the top honour in the 2016 Bristol Post Business Awards.

Providing safe, modern and comfortable accommodation for more than 46,000 students across the UK, Unite Students is one of Bristol’s biggest success stories.

Founded in 1991 by 21-year-old Nicholas Porter, Unite is the country’s largest provider of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) and has properties in more than 28 cities.

Despite its large market presence, the FTSE250 company has remained loyal to Bristol where it is still headquartered.

Unite were chosen as the winners of this year’s Large Business Award, and the judges were so impressed by their sustainable and conscientious approach that they decided to name them the overall Business of the Year.

Chief executive of Unite Students Richard Smith said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the awards. It’s a wonderful achievement, recognising the hard work and commitment of everyone in the business and it is especially pleasing as it comes in our 25th year.

“The quality, creativity and innovation of business in Bristol is as strong as it has ever been. As such to be recognised from amongst a strong local business community is a real honour.

“As well as our continued financial success and best ever independent customer satisfaction survey results I’d like to think that the judges saw our genuine passion to achieve our core purpose of providing students with a home for success.

“This means providing a comfortable environment which enables students to achieve more during their time at university.”

Unite employs more than 350 people in Bristol and provides accommodation to almost 3,500 students across its 15 properties in the city.

The company works closely with Bristol University and Bristol UWE and has recently bought the former Bristol Royal Infirmary building.

Unite plans to transfer its headquarters to the old hospital building and will create accommodation and a new medical school facility.

Mr Smith said the company had experienced many highs over the past 25 years, but the watershed moment came when it was able to establish its Unite Foundation.

“The Foundation is a charity which provides free student accommodation and a generous annual scholarship to young people in the UK who aspire to a degree – but face the most challenging circumstances,” the chief executive said.

“The Unite Foundation is now in its fourth year of operation and during this time has provided more than 125 scholarships.
“The scholarships provide year round accommodation along with an annual living allowance to students who face considerable challenges in getting to university, and who lack a stable home environment.”

Bosses are enthusiastic about the future of Unite and hope to achieve further growth in the coming 25 years.

Mr Smith said: “The outlook for our market remains positive and we expect student numbers to continue to grow steadily.

“Over recent years we have used our in depth knowledge of the sector to position ourselves favourably in the local markets that are best placed for ongoing growth.

“We believe this, together with our valuable brand and relationships, leaves us well placed to continue performing strongly in the coming years.

“As a successful company we recognise that we are in the privileged position of being able to make choices that have a wide, positive impact. As we strive to provide a home for success for our students, we realise the importance of operating responsibly and sustainably and making a positive difference to our stakeholders.”


Sponsors of the Business of the Year Award: UWE Bristol
UWE Bristol is one of the largest universities in the UK with more than 27,000 students studying across a range of subjects.
It is a hub for business development and professional training with a range of services geared towards helping organisations to grow, innovate and develop.
Its courses are practice orientated and engage with businesses every step of the way. In addition, its research delivers impact regionally, nationally and internationally.
Within the Bristol Business School UWE embraces innovation and creativity, and works hard to ensure that its activities have an impact on businesses in the region.

Sponsors of the Large Business of the Year Award: Smith & Williamson
Smith & Williamson is delighted to celebrate the entrepreneurialism, innovation, good management and strategic thinking which has become the hallmarks of Bristol’s most successful businesses by supporting the Bristol Post Business Awards again this year.
It sponsored the Large Business of the Year Award which recognises the achievements of Bristol’s largest employers.
The firm has grown steadily over the years to become one of the UK’s leading accountancy, investment management, tax and financial advisory groups and now has more than 200 people based in its Bristol office.


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