Futurelabs community joins new tech incubator at Platform

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The business community at Bruntwood’s flagship Leeds building Platform continues to grow, welcoming one of the city's established tech start-up communities, Futurelabs, ahead of its official launch this week.

Futurelabs, which was established as a pilot initiative with support from Leeds City Council in 2016, currently houses around 70 people, supporting the city’s grassroots community of start ups and freelancers.

Futurelabs offers companies a number of events and services including meetups, talks and networking which will now be run from Platform’s event spaces.

The tech incubator at Platform is fast becoming one of the main gateways for the city’s digital sector, following support from Leeds City Council’s Tech Hub Fund which is designed to support start up and scale up businesses from the digital technology and creative industries across the city and beyond.

Businesses based in Platform’s tech incubator will benefit from a comprehensive programme of expert business support services delivered by sector specialists and national partners, including IP services from the leading creative industries team at Shoosmiths and small business tax and accountancy support by KPMG and PwC. The centre also offers a vibrant and dynamic programme of social and networking events, led by Community Manager, Wendy Denman.

Connectivity of all kinds, physical, digital and social, is at the core of Platform’s offer. With easy-in, flexible and well-designed spaces and the latest office technologies, new businesses can rub shoulders with leading brands while in turn giving established companies a look at the new, fresh and ambitious prospects in the industry.

Craig Burrow, director of Bruntwood Leeds, believes that Futurelabs’ move to Platform is a reflection of how the new tech incubator can support the diversity of Leeds’ digital sector.

He said: “There is a very obvious synergy between the tech incubator here at Platform and Futurelabs, both of which are about creating the right environments for people to collaborate and develop their businesses with help on hand when it’s needed.

“We know that flexibility and collaboration are major priorities for tech businesses and Platform will be a highly effective hub in the city for companies looking to be part of a like-minded community to spark off and grow with. We are certain Platform will be an inspirational home for this burgeoning sector that will attract and support the businesses that Leeds, and the wider region, needs to help fuel its continuing renaissance.”

Steve Wainwright, Futurelabs’ co-founder, said: “We are passionate about developing the tech ecosystem in Leeds. We have built an amazing tech community over the last 18 months and delivered more than £4million of GVA to the region.

“Transitioning that community into Platform is a logical next step and we look forward to the community continuing to thrive in that space.”

Platform opens officially on Thursday, November 23rd with the tech incubator launching in January 2018. It is already attracting strong interest with a number of companies having located there, including digital design house, LightStart and Yorkshire IT managed services provider, Altinet.

Cllr James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources and strategy, said: “Through our support, in the last 18 months Futurelabs has provided a focus for the tech community and proved that there is demand for a community space in Leeds.

“We are delighted that they are choosing to partner with Bruntwood as the next step in their journey and in the best interests of their community.

“Only through effective collaboration will we be able to fulfil the city’s growth potential and see Leeds, as a location of tech businesses to flourish further. Ultimately this is about enabling Leeds to compete with other cities in the UK and overseas, create jobs, and drive inward investment in the most exciting and disruptive sector of our economy.

“Bruntwood and Futurelabs are key players in helping us deliver this ambition and I have no doubt that this is a very positive move for the Futurelabs community and one which will further burnish the city’s tech credentials and reputation.”

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