Community interest company using cutting-edge 5G technology

Caption: From the left, House of Emanuel’s Matthew Henry–Cottrell and Bassam El Naaqib with Jim Vithanage from the uexplore project

A community interest company launched to inspire young people through culture and education is to bring cutting-edge 5G technology to its work after joining a digital connectivity project.

House of Emanuel I and I C.I.C was set-up by Matthew Henry–Cottrell, Isiah Williams and Bassam El Naaqib in Coventry last June and is already making a difference as the city’s year as UK City of Culture comes to a close.

The business hosts a residency on the newly-formed Block Radio and led the station’s input in the BBC Sound of Cov weekend last August.

House of Emanuel has worked across the city with the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire’s Connecting for Good sessions, and a host of services working with refugees, C.A.R.A.G and the East African community as well as with Square One at Coventry University who hosted a live music night called Oneness.

It was through the Growth Hub newsletter that Matthew, who has over 20 years’ experience as a lecturer in Further Education as well as the music industry, heard about the uxplore project.

The scheme, which is delivered by Coventry University, is a partnership between the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub and the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The project provides a range of digital connectivity programmes for businesses trading in Coventry and Warwickshire with fewer than 250 employees, to pilot new products, services and business models by harnessing broadband, Wi-Fi, 4G and 5G connectivity.

Matthew was put in touch with Jim Vithanage at the CWLEP Growth Hub and attended one of its Connectivity & Frontier Technology Workshops and was excited to find out 5G technology could benefit House of Emanuel.

“We wanted an innovative arm to the business because of the contracts that we’re involved in,” he said.

“5G is usually associated with big corporate firms so I felt a bit daunted at first but because of the support and encouragement of the uxplore team, I attended the workshop and I found out so much about the functionality of 5G.

“It was really interesting to find out how far the technology can go in so many industries and how different sectors can pioneer the services in their particularly field.

“As a new business, we want to help shape the experience of young people and their understanding of 5G as well as how we can help it to amplify our company and all the innovative aspects which are really encouraging.

“I also now have a good understanding of the market share which was really helpful and the workshop confirmed that, as a business, we are in a privileged position because of working between culture and education.

“We now have the potential to use 5G and shape not only how it is used in Coventry but the UK and it is very encouraging and motivating to be involved.

“The next phase of the development of House of Emanuel is to get ready for the mentoring part of uxplore.”

Jim Vithanage, uxplore Project Account Manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the scheme was helping House of Emanuel to reach its full potential.

“It is great that uxplore and Coventry University Services Ltd are providing a high level of support to ensure House of Emanuel takes full advantage of the technology that is available to help them as well as give Matthew and his fellow directors the validation that they are going in the right direction,” he said.

“The uxplore project is aimed at helping small businesses just like House of Emanuel to develop and grow by using cutting-edge digital and connectivity technologies through our specially-designed workshops and mentoring”

“This support is all fully funded and we can also help to apply for match-funded grants to support proof of concept activities for products or solutions which utilise ‘digital innovation’ or 5G technologies”

The uxplore project runs until June 2023. For more information, contact