Business networking group Love Your Business is partnering up with Edinburgh charity Invisible Cities to help raise awareness of what the charity does and help to raise funds.

Founder of Love Your Business Michelle Brown decided upon Invisible Cities after putting out a call for suggestions from members. The organisation will receive half of all the ticket sales from monthly events and PR and marketing support.

Invisible Cities was founded by Zakia Moulaoui Guery to provide training to people affected by homelessness. The training covers everything from communications and confidence building to public speaking and customer service and will help them to become walking tour guides in their own city, on a journey to further opportunities in the tourism sector.

It first began in Edinburgh in 2016 and has expanded over the last two years to other cities including Glasgow, York, Manchester and Cardiff, welcoming over 8,000 guests from around the world until Covid restrictions put everything on hold in March 2020. The charity has continued to support the people they work with by regularly delivering food and providing ongoing support. 

Love Your Business has had charity partners in the past raising funds for Make 2nds Count in 2019 and last year Support in Mind Scotland.

Invisible Cities also supports families and children in temporary accommodation by delivering books and activities to local organisations using sales from their Travel Subscription Box, which is designed to help children discover new places and travel the world from the comfort of their home.

They also organise the Street Barber which runs on the last Saturday of every month at The Leith Walk Police Box where they provide free haircuts for people affected by homelessness as well as toiletries and hot drinks. Due to covid restrictions, haircuts have been suspended, however hot drinks and biscuits continue to be provided.

At the end of January, Invisible Cities celebrated the launch of their first live virtual tours of Edinburgh where over 300 people attended from all over the world to hear about the history of the old town and enjoy a new exclusive Harry Potter’s myths and truths tour, narrated by one of their guides who has been homeless several times throughout his life until he began working with Invisible Cities in 2018.

Zakia leading an Invisible Cities tour

Zakia said: “We are very grateful for the partnership between Invisible Cities and Love Your Business. Of course, it brings much needed additional funds at a time that is particularly difficult for a tourism organisations like ours but being able to create long lasting connections and potential partnerships with other people in the network is also a great opportunity for us.”

Michelle said: “We are really looking forward to working with Invisible Cities this year to help them raise awareness of the incredible work they are doing supporting people who have been affected by homelessness and also to raise funds from proceeds of tickets sales from our networking club so that they can train even more people to be tour guides in their own cities.”

The next Love Your Business online event is on Thursday, 25 February from 11am till noon, with speakers already lined up and networking opportunities in the breakout rooms afterwards.

Tickets are £5 plus booking fee, with 50% going to Invisible Cities – more details here

Past speakers include Chris van Der Kuyl, co-founder of 4JStudios, the developer behind Minecraft Console Editions, Lara Bross of Bross Bagels and Brian McGregor of Henry’s Coffee Company.