George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse initiative wouldn’t run without its flagship city of Manchester. And companies know it, given the city’s plentiful growth schemes including a Barclays lab for entrepreneurs. In fact, the bank is now doubling down on its offer.
Riding off the success of its business growth-focused Eagle Lab in Salford, the banking giant has thrown its hat into the Mancunian ring again with another Eagle Lab in Bruntwood’s Union building on Albert Square, which will launch later this year.
Only a walk away from Manchester Town Hall, the lab looks to capitalise on the city’s business hotspots. Indeed, following a £5m makeover, Union’s 12,000 sq ft workspace will sport an 80-seat auditorium, breakout spaces, private offices, meeting rooms and a public coffee shop to facilitate the needs of local entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, in terms of personnel support to build on the facilities, the new Manchester Eagle Lab will have an ecosystem manager and Barclays high growth business manager offering access to funding, mentoring and guidance for scale.
Commenting on the announcement, Ben Davey, CEO of Barclays UK Ventures, said: “Manchester has thrived on a spirit of innovation and industry – a spirit that led to the development of the world’s first programmable computer.
“Technology is now transforming the speed at which startups can grow and scale and by providing world class space and practical resources alongside our financial and business expertise, our mission is to help individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to innovate, network and ultimately succeed.”
Anticipating a multibillion-pound potential for Manchester, Andrew Butterworth, sales director at Bruntwood, added: “We know that Manchester’s small and medium sized enterprises will generate a staggering £12bn annually for the city’s economy by 2020 and programmes like Barclays’ Eagle Labs play a valuable role in boosting these ambitious businesses and giving them the tools and support they need to take the next steps in growing and developing their businesses.”
With its existing £500m Northern Powerhouse Growth Fund, Barclays is truly making its bed in the north and leading by example as it employs 12,000 people in the region.