Start-up academy and all new shared working spaces to aid entrepreneurial return

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Grimsby’s business support specialist E-Factor has reimagined its offerings as it gears up to deliver for whatever a new normal may bring.

Flexible new workspaces, a Start-Up Academy and a vibrant new business lounge are all part of the vision for the future.

The organisation is funded from the rent it collects from its extensive property portfolio, with advisors employed to help strengthen the entrepreneurial culture in the borough and beyond.

Managing director Mark Webb said the transformation was in direct response to an upsurge in new-business enquiries and the opportunities offered by different ways of working.

“We are committed to helping our business community stay ahead of the curve – as their needs change, we need to respond,” he said.

“Over the last 12 months, the team has been turning ideas into opportunities, designing new features and creating ways to inspire excellence, lead the way in new ways of working and reflect the aspiration, energy and innovation of our clients and members.”

The Start-Up Academy has been launched to inspire entrepreneurs and support start-ups in their first year of trade.

Building on E-Factor’s strong reputation for supporting start-ups across northern Lincolnshire, plus its popular Be Your Own Boss programme, it will take selected, ambitious entrepreneurs through a 12-month intensive programme of training and professional one-to-one advice – with incubation space – all designed to transform their business ideas into viable ventures. Normally costing thousands, it will be offered free of charge by E-Factor and its partners.

BaseCamp at E-Factor’s Business Hive View gallery

Tim Maddison, business support and advice manager, said: “In the last 12 months we have seen an upsurge in enquiries from people keen to explore new business ideas. The academy focuses on the people as much as the business. Our year-long programme is designed to nurture entrepreneurial spirit and upskill individuals so they can make their business work, grow it faster and ultimately employ other people sooner.”

BaseCamp is a new, high-quality co-working space which offers a flexible way to work, where desks can be rented for a day, week, month or year at the Business Hive, on Dudley Street, Grimsby.

Leading the project is Natalie Cresswell, property and operations manager of E-Factor Properties.

“Everything tells us there won’t be a mass return to the office so we need to be ready to support local business with a range of different options. BaseCamp offers total agility,” she said.

“We are providing the opportunity for people to work in a social, yet professional, environment, without the large overheads. It can be your full-time space or you can pop in for the odd day. The attraction is it is good-value, flexible space with the added bonus of bookable meeting rooms, high-speed connectivity, a staffed reception and the latest in office technology. This modern and aspirational workspace plugs the gap between office and home working.”

People working there will also enjoy skilled support from E-Factor business advisors and use of the bright new business lounge and meeting space of the Business Hive, managed by Jo Taylor.

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As part of a major refurbishment, the members lounge has been transformed with plush velvet chairs and bespoke sofas to create an environment for collaborating in comfort and style. And state-of-the-art technology in the meeting rooms means clients can just plug-in and go. A hot-desk area has been retained and refurbished too.

“Members already love coming into the Hive but we have taken it up a gear. Think of the concierge of a top hotel – that is the wow experience we are aiming for,” said Jo.

“We have put a lot of thought into creating a space that has a modern industry vibe, with warmth and comfort, and great coffee, where people want to come and spend a couple of hours.”

Complementing the environment is a packed calendar of networking events, business services and training programmes for the year ahead.