Glasgow's Space for Growth initiatives - which support new and growing businesses and organisations in some areas of the city - are to be stepped after plans to establish Community Growth Hubs were approved by Glasgow City Council today (27 September).
Space for Growth is a suite of initiatives provided by Glasgow City Council and City Property that offer assistance to start-up businesses, social organisations, creative organisations and community groups in gaining affordable accommodation.
Such assistance is seen as key to the growth and sustainability of these organisations as barriers such as rent costs, lack of suitable space and limited opportunities to co-locate with likeminded organisations - removing these barriers helps to grow local economies and provide jobs for the local community.
The support provided by Space for Growth comprises three strands, the first two of which are already operational:
Community Business Boost
Vacant Property Initiatives - Meanwhile Space and Glasgow Business Step-Up
Community Growth Hubs
The £375,000 Community Business Boost programme supports new and growing local businesses in the four highest SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) wards in Glasgow - Calton, Canal, East Centre and North East - by offering part-funding for rent over two years. The council works with local groups to identify projects that will benefit from this.
The Vacant Property Initiatives are a response to the changing retail landscape in the face on online competition, and aim to stimulate local economies, footfall and visitor numbers by bring vacant units into positive use. The Meanwhile Space initiative uses vacant properties until such time as they can be brought back to more permanent use, and 11 units have been identified in the High Street / Saltmarket area, with organisation invited to apply for leases of up to one year, with an annual rent of £1.
The second of these initiatives is the Glasgow Business Step Up, which offers affordable accommodation to start-up businesses, with stepped rent increases giving them a chance to establish themselves and grow. City Property has identified 12 of its properties in the four highest SIMD wards as being suitable for this initiative and thus helpful to the local economies.
The newest element of Strand for Growth - approved by the council's City Administration Committee today - is the establishment of Community Growth Hubs, dedicated spaces for social enterprises, creative organisations and community groups. The co-location of such organisations could allow collaboration and the maximisation of their social impact on local communities.
Work will now begin on developing the Community Growth Hub model, including an assessment of vacant properties of appropriate size, condition and accessibility.
Councillor Angus Millar, Depute City Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth at Glasgow City Council, said: "Space for Growth is a key plank of the council's effort to drive forward inclusive economic growth, ensuring all parts of the city can share in economic opportunity. We know that one of the barriers to starting up a business or launching a social enterprise can be finding appropriate space, and these initiatives are about providing access to affordable accommodation to give start-ups, social enterprises and community groups the space to establish themselves and grow. It's also vital that we link up access to affordable space with the council's business support services - giving SMEs and other organisations assistance to set down roots in communities, build themselves up and make a success. And by making better use of our vacant properties, we are looking to bring positive regeneration and stimulate the local economy in communities across the city - targeting some of Glasgow's most deprived wards and also the High Street area, which has been identified as a key regeneration priority for the council and where we need to do more to support vibrancy and economic growth. Glasgow has to be a place where economic growth is inclusive - bringing jobs, economic opportunity and social entrepreneurialism to all part of the city. This is an exciting opportunity for businesses, social enterprises and community groups to drive forward that positive change locally, and we look forward to rolling out Space for Growth over the coming months."