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Merchant City incubator to deliver £53m economic boost

Monday, January 18, 2016
Grace Arnell

A NEW Glasgow city centre incubator inspired by Google’s offices is expected to inject £53 million into the local economy over the next five years.

The Tontine building at Glasgow Cross is to be converted into a high-tech space for up to 300 entrepreneurs in the £1.67m project, which is a key part of the £1.13 billion Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal.

“The space has been designed to reflect the needs and attitudes of young businesses, drawing on the designs of Google’s offices,” said Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal Cabinet. “It offers high level of IT infrastructure which will allow entrepreneurs to rent a space, plug in and go.”

Designed to inspire the 135 aspirational businesses expected to use the facility, its features will include a mix of small informal meeting booths, boardrooms, workshop areas and presentation spaces. Key sectors to be targeted include enabling technology, advanced design and manufacturing and creative industries.

“We believe these sectors have strong growth potential,” Cllr McAveety added. “We want to develop strong working relationships with all the city’s higher and further education establishments. This includes Strathclyde University, where we anticipate a strong connection with the research work carried out in the [university’s] Technology & Innovation Centre.”

Strathclyde University’s Technology & Innovation Centre links academics and industry to find solutions to challenges in energy, health, manufacturing and other areas. The new incubator – called the Tontine Business Acceleration Space and Innovation Hub – also aims to collaborate with the Scottish Funding Council’s £120m Innovation Centre programme. This has so far funded eight innovation centres around Scotland including the Digital Health Institute and Oil and Gas Innovation Centre.

A business acceleration programme with dedicated business advisers will help young, high-growth companies with five to 20 employees become investor ready, building resilience and leadership capacity. The building will be formally opened this May.

Meantime, businesses are being invited to attend a free supplier event on 25 January to hear about opportunities related to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal. These relate to ‘community benefits’ obligations, where all organisations bidding for contracts need to show that they will deliver economic and social benefits to the communities in which they operate, for example by taking on local people, suppliers and sub-contractors.

Twenty major infrastructure projects will be funded through the City Deal, including £116m of public realm and infrastructure improvements in Glasgow city centre; the £114m development of vacant and derelict sites around Clyde Waterfront and the west end and £27m of infrastructure and connectivity improvements for the Collegelands project to the east of Glasgow city centre.

The Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal – which includes eight local authorities and £500m in grant funding from the Scottish and UK governments – is expected to deliver a permanent £2.2bn uplift in output a year for the region and generate 15,000 construction jobs during the construction phase. This is expected to lead to a further 28,000 permanent jobs and £3.3bn of private sector investment.

“This City Deal is a fantastic opportunity for the businesses, organisations and people of the area, and we are determined to ensure that as many people as possible benefit,” Cllr McAveety said.

Artical taken from Herald Scotland Online http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/14199471.Merchant_City_incubator_to_deliver___53m_economi