AN organisation promoting business with a social conscience has opened in Bolton.

The Antz Network is occupying Commerce House in Bridgeman Place thanks to support from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

It was founded by Jen Pemberton and encourages members to consider the link between developing their business relationships commercially and creating opportunity in communities and giving back to society.

Ms Pemberton said: “We want corporate organisations, national and regional businesses to contract and employ local small and medium sized businesses and start-ups to help growth and create job opportunities.”

The concept started in 2011 when Ms Pemberton was approached by Martin Ainscough to provide advice and, in particular, the use of two empty buildings as a centre for charitable organisations in Swinton. It was called Antz Junction.

Antz Network is not a charity, but a privately funded group of businesses to drive growth commercially and in the community.

Ms Pemberton added: “We currently have two businesses in Commercial House and we are processing applications from a further 16. We envisage a total of 17 organisations in the building.”

The boss of rapidly expanding Bolton-based Clever IT, Ben Griffiths launched his company alongside, Antz Junction in 2011, and was at the Commerce House event to endorse the new Antz Network launch.

He said: “I remember the buildings in Swinton when they were empty and cold with dusty corridors. I did a little bit of work there when I was starting up on my own, helping out with networking the cables and configuring emails for various people.

“It’s now a vibrant centre full of thriving activity. I have found that, if you do good things for people, in the long run, you get paid back.

“It’s a fantastic concept and one I am delighted to endorse.”