Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for 99.8% of businesses in London and nearly 50% of all employment. SMEs have capacity to deliver significant jobs and growth in London in the coming years.
Various forms of shared workspace are steadily expanding in London. These include co-working spaces, incubators, accelerators, shared studios and workshops and maker/hacker spaces. These spaces offer non-traditional avenues to engage with and support SMEs, in line with the London Enterprise Panel’s priority areas, which include SME workspace and business support.
These workspaces offer lower-cost and flexible workspace, business support services and clustering benefits. Many are supported by public sector investment, and also provide training programmes, cultural events, and business advice. Where these operators move into vacant buildings, they can also contribute to high street renewal and broader regeneration programmes through increasing footfall, supporting local businesses, providing space to test new ideas, and changing the image of neglected areas.
These spaces don’t just happen organically – the public sector can have an important role in bringing them forward. How can practitioners get these projects off the ground in their communities, and how can they ensure that these workspaces contribute to wider regeneration aims?
The Greater London Authority is active in this area, recently releasing three reports alongside its Open Workspaces map:
- Supporting Places of Work: Incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces
- Accommodating Growth in Town Centres: Achieving successful housing intensification and high street diversification
- Creating Artists’ Workspace
As the GLA explores ways to translate these strategic documents into locally-appropriate levers, there is a major opportunity for practitioners across the Capital to share best practice and learn about future opportunities. Future of London is partnering with the GLA to deliver a practical seminar on this hot topic:
- Matthew Blades, Principal Economic Development Officer, Westminster Council
- Mark Allan, Chief Executive, South Kilburn Trust
- Chris Pieroni, Operations Director, Workspace Group
- Tobias Goevert, GLA Regeneration (Chair)
Registration is required, and space is limited. To register your interest in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be in touch with details, and to confirm if you have secured a spot.
Materials from this seminar, including presentations and podcasts, will be available online after the event.
Future of London will deliver further programmes on local economic development throughout 2015. Please check back!