Westminster joins start-up incubator trend

Westminster City Council has added to London’s growing number of start-up incubators, launching a studio space in the West End that will enable up to 1,000 companies and entrepreneurs to access office space.

The 12,000 sq ft space, which has been named Hub Westminster, claims to be the largest start-up incubation lab in the capital and is a joint venture between Westminster City Council and design firm Architecture00.

Membership to Hub Westminster costs from £20 a month. Located in New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London, the centre opened on Monday following months of planning by the council, which contributed £660,000 to the project.

Westminster councillor Brian Connell, cabinet member for enterprise and volunteering comments, ‘This is a fantastic place to inspire and provide a next generation of start-up companies.’

‘We hope that by providing affordable membership we can give budding entrepreneurs a real chance to succeed and to help kick start our economy. We have designed the space to provide all the tools for innovation and invention to support a start-up’s daily workspace needs. Who knows we might help the next Steve Jobs or Sir James Dyson.’

To be located in Hub Westminster will be Hub Venture Labs (HVL), a partnership between Hub Westminster and private equity firm Merism Capital that aims to be an incubator for social entrepreneurs.

Merism Capital takes equity in for-profit social businesses in return for funding of between £50,000 and £150,000. HVL will deliver programmes, support and workshops for start-ups, and it will also run multiple incubator programs from four to 12 weeks, some with investment prizes for participants.

London already has a number of shared-office spaces for start-ups and entrepreneurs including one of the most prominent providers TechHub near Old Street, East London. Internet giant Google appears to also be keen to launch an incubator after leasing a seven-floor building in East London for an unannounced new initiative.

The US firm announced last year that they had backed the government-led Tech City project that aims to develop East London into one of the world’s great technological centres, rivalling the likes of Silicon Valley.

Todd Cardy

Adelbert Swaniawski

Todd was Editor of GrowthBusiness.co.uk between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital. Connect with...

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