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Business & Economy

Teesside business Alt Labs wins major contracts with Welsh Government

A fast-growing Teesside innovation and tech consultancy has secured major contracts for the Welsh Government and is in the process of developing Cleveland Police’s first public-facing app.

Alt Labs, set up by Imran Anwar in 2017, has been built on the back of his extensive career in delivering innovative projects for blue-chip clients including the Go-Ahead Group, Govia Thameslink Railway service in London and National Express Group

He said: “Following Alt Labs success with Govia, we were approached to work with the Welsh Government on its rail developments to help drive innovation, technology and start-up growth in Wales.

We are already working with great, innovative tech partners as well as Alt Labs developing apps and a website for TFW (Transport for Wales) to address challenges and are looking forward to delivering them.”

Imran Anwar, who has already created 10 jobs and is about to recruit two more roles, has two strands to his business. He offers a fast-tracking process to get to the heart of a business’s problems and then delivers a five-day ‘Design Sprint’ which goes from the idea to proof of concept. Running alongside this service, and complementary is Alt Labs in-house technical and digital expertise from website design to app creation. With ecommerce growth continuing to increase at a very fast pace, Alt Labs are able to offer a full range of services to both new and existing businesses to help them increase their brand presence online through digital consultancy, cutting edge software, web and app development.

Talking about his success he said: “I’m proud of my Teesside roots and that I’m building my business in this area. Alt Labs is a problem-solving agency. We don’t want to put a plaster over a crack. We want to see why there’s a crack in the first place!’

Imran, who has Pakistani heritage is passionate about combating racism and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to develop their careers, from whatever background. He is speaking about the importance of inclusion and diversity at an online event as part of Equality Matters Week on 7 February. His view is that it is particularly important people from all diverse backgrounds are represented in the media and in the business world to encourage the next generation and let them see what can be achieved.

Alt Labs is part of the North East England Chamber of Commerce which has a RED commission that encourages businesses to put diversity at the heart of their operations.

Alison Preston, Chamber relationship manager said: “Imran is a fantastic role model for budding entrepreneurs and his ability to tackle challenges and find solutions is outstanding. His business is off to a great start for 2022 and it looks like the sky is the limit.”

Imran’s background and passion for entrepreneurship started at eight when he learnt about retailing first-hand in his parents’ business. He was then on track to become an RAF pilot, spending time with the Tornado squadron through Air Cadets before a rugby accident resulted in him having to change his career course at an early age.

He had a series of senior roles including time with GSK representing Lucozade and Ribena before following his ambition to work in the tech sector. His first major project was for the London Midland railway which wanted to be more distinctive in its marketplace. Imran’s solution to this was to encourage the operator to embrace the start-up community to identify solutions to operational challenges. As a result, he helped create Europe’s first rail accelerator programme, aimed at giving SMEs the chance to bid for major projects.

The results of this work provided solutions such as improvements to rail accessibility, facial recognition technology and the development of pods in stations, to name a few. As result, the London Midland railway was named in the top 50 innovative businesses in the West Midlands.

His next role was to support the Go-Ahead Group with its Billion journeys Project, which was the number of rides taken by people on the company’s rail and bus network around London and the South East.

Through Alt Labs, Imran helped introduce innovations to the digital and physical experience and improve the commercial revenue model.

One of the innovative technology services introduced was on the busy Gatwick to Brighton line where passengers often had substantial baggage to manage on the routes. Instead of people coping with this, bags were picked up from hotels and homes by the airlines directly, rather than being carried far and wide.

His business is also working on a hackathon with Welsh Universities to help encourage innovative thinking in the tech sector which is due to go live this summer.