A new incubator hub for creative and tech businesses is set to open in Yorkshire following five months of construction work by Lindum.
The Harrogate Co-Lab will officially open next month after a £500,000 scheme to refurbish old Borough Council offices at Springfield House, inside the town’s Convention Centre.
The work was completed by Lindum York, based in Elvington, and the finished building provides a collaborative environment where businesses can gain access to information about funding and investment, insight, supply chain, help with talent recruitment and other advice that enables tech businesses to thrive.
It will also offer a modern office space with co-working desk space and lounge area, 10 serviced offices with desk space for up to 10 people, high-speed secure broadband, meeting rooms, kitchen area, showers and facilities.
Lindum MD Jonathan Sizer said: “We are delighted to have been involved in such a forward-thinking scheme, providing opportunities and a platform for new and small business to develop as we emerge from the turbulence of the last two years.
“The space we have created is bright and fresh with an excellent infrastructure and a superb location in the heart of Harrogate.”
Harrogate Borough Council vacated Springfield House when it moved all of its operations to its new civic centre at Knapping Mount in 2017. The office has since been let out to businesses.
The council unveiled plans to refurbish the site in February 2019. However, the convention centre’s transformation into an NHS Nightingale Hospital meant the project had to be put on hold. The plans were revived last year and the council appointed Lindum to do the work via Pagabo’s Refit and Refurbishment Framework.
Karen Carter, regional manager for the North at Pagabo, said: “We were delighted to again support Harrogate Borough Council with the quick and compliant appointment of Lindum to deliver the Springfield House project; a facility which aligns to our values of being digital first and supporting new and smaller businesses to flourish.
“The award through our specialist refit and refurbishment framework showcases the expertise available within our ecosystem to efficiently progress projects for all of our public sector clients.”
Alistair Forbes, Harrogate Borough Council’s in-house growth manager who will support businesses at Co-Lab, said: “Over the last few years, we’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked us ‘are there any co-working or incubator office spaces in Harrogate?’.
“This got us thinking; we needed to find a way to meet this demand and it needed to be dedicated to digital, creative and tech businesses who really need this type of space.
“Co-Lab will be focussed on digital and tech businesses, but we are inviting anyone interested in collaborating with the business community to talk to us. From designers, to hardware specialists, technologists, marketers and developers, our aim is that everyone works together to help our community become more successful.”
The ‘digital incubator hub’ has been created by the borough council, as a key element in its economic growth strategy, with the aim of helping the district economy to grow. It was funded through £540,000 from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and is expected to make the council around £49,000 a year in rent.
Businesses wishing to join Co-Lab will ideally need to be in the digital and creative industries business sector, including businesses involved in fintech, augmented reality and virtual reality, digital health, film and animation production, music, digital content creation and management, immersive technology and content, publishing, cyber security, data, gaming, or product design.
Businesses will also need to be one with a scalable product or service, with the ambition to grow whether through turnover or employee numbers.