Glasgow Cross landmark to become hub for start-ups

A GLASGOW landmark is being converted into a hub for start-up businesses looking to establish themselves in the city.

The Tontine building, right, will become a hub for start-up businesses in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

The Tontine Building at Glasgow Cross will provide office space for up to 300 entrepreneurs when it formally opens in May.

Work is on-going to refurbish the Victorian block, which occupies a prominent position in the Trongate, into a “business acceleration space”.

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It will offer a high-quality working environment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with good potential for growth.

There will be a focus on businesses in sectors with links to the nearby University of Strathclyde to maximise “cross-fertilisation” between growing companies in the city and major research programmes.

The £5.5m project is being funded in part via the £1.13 billion Glasgow City Deal, which was announced in 2014.

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Councillor Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The ambitious programme will support some of Glasgow’s key economic sectors and help grow resilient and innovative enterprises.

“This approach builds on the council’s support for growing businesses and a recognition that young businesses often encounter stresses and bumps in the road as they develop.

“The new business acceleration space and innovation hub at the Tontine will offer high quality flexible office space and meeting spaces and board rooms tailored for the requirements of growing businesses.

“The space has been designed to reflect the needs and attitudes of young businesses drawing on the designs of Google’s offices. It offers high level of IT infrastructure which will allow entrepreneurs to rent a space, plug in and go.”

The present Tontine building dates from 1869 and replaced an earlier structure dating back to the 1740s. It was formerly a hotel and once formed part of the town hall connected to Glasgow Cross.

Two floors were converted in 2014 into temporary studios for students displaced by the Glasgow School of Art fire.

The refurbished office space will also house a bespoke business acceleration programme with dedicated business advisers on hand.

Cllr McAveety continued: “They will support entrepreneurs give them the best possible chance to grow their business in scale and open them to new markets in Scotland and beyond. The Tontine Business Acceleration Space and Innovation Hub programme will support businesses to become investor ready, increasing leadership capacity and resilience.”

Meanwhile, SMEs have been invited to a meeting at Glasgow City Chambers on January 25 to learn how they could benefit from the City Deal.

The free event will set out the projects and potential opportunities arising from the deal as well as the training and support on offer.

It aims to help SMEs become “tender ready” to apply for contracts when they become available.

SMEs interested in taking part must register in advance via Glasgow City Council.