Barclays has been revealed as a major partner in the Belfast Ormeau Baths redevelopment, which will be known as Barclays Eagle Lab at Ormeau Baths.
Adrian Doran, Barclays’ Head of Corporate Banking in Northern Ireland said, “The Barclays Eagle Lab business incubator has been successfully launched in 9 other major cities across the UK, some by regenerating unused Barclays premises; and others by partnering in the regeneration of old city buildings. As a business, Barclays has been looking for a partner and premises for an Eagle Lab here in Northern Ireland for some time, as it is part of our wider strategy to grow our SME business, and in particular focus on supporting high growth businesses and entrepreneurs.
“When we heard about the plans for the Ormeau Baths, we thought it would be the perfect fit. The team behind the redevelopment share similar goals and objectives with ours: supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups and accelerating high growth companies.”
The new Barclays Eagle Lab at Ormeau Baths will open its doors in June 2017, and will be an integral part of a 150 seat co-working site in the city centre providing access to resources including expert mentoring, event space, and workshops - giving Northern Ireland’s start-up and scale-up communities a crucial boost. Belfast is the tenth Eagle Lab Barclays has opened after success in locations such as Salford, London and Cambridge.
The space, a Grade B1 listed former Victorian Bath House built in 1888, will be specifically designed around the needs of local entrepreneurs, businesses and communities and tailored to suit Northern Ireland’s strength in high tech digital and IT innovation.
The Labs are supported by Barclays’ Digital Eagles and the bank will take 20 seats in the space to offer support to local businesses. Barclays will also have a Business Manager on site to provide support to local companies and entrepreneurs as well becoming the Belfast base for Barclays’ Digital Eagles community activity.
Adrian Doran continued, “Our investment with Ormeau Baths will bring benefits far beyond a shared workspace and much further afield than Belfast. Through direct access to the UK-wide Barclays Eagle Lab network, companies can use any of our Labs, free of charge; we have a dedicated pool of experts in the business needs of high growth and entrepreneurial companies; we can link with a wide network of like-minded entrepreneurs and sectoral specialists who provide mentorship and support; and we can provide access to Barclays £100m Northern Ireland SME Fund. This new Barclays Eagle Lab in the heart of Belfast will help Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurial companies to scale up and accelerate their growth locally and into international markets.”
Mark Dowds, one of the founders of Ormeau Baths, said: “We have created Ormeau Baths as a way to breathe more life into the start-up community in Belfast. There are a lot of creative people and companies in Northern Ireland looking for a place to start and grow. Our hope is that we can bring these people together alongside partners like Barclays, who are willing to get behind younger companies to help them succeed.”