Barclays is opening a third Eagle Lab in Scotland to support start-up and scale-up businesses across Ayrshire. The lab will be based in the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre in Kilmarnock, a state-of-the-art environment for entrepreneurs who are building and growing specialised digital and cyber businesses. The Kilmarnock lab will open for business in January 2022.
The Barclays Eagle Lab network is one of the largest co-working and business incubator networks in the UK, with sites across 24 locations, including Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The Kilmarnock Lab will help entrepreneurs and ambitious start-up businesses collaborate, innovate and grow and will work to nurture and build local start-up networks, positively impacting the economy locally and beyond.
In addition, Eagle Labs will bring access to its industry aligned initiatives, including its EnergyTech programme, which brings together company leaders from large established businesses in the energy sector, and start-up and scale-up leaders from across the UK, through monthly virtual meetings to combine expertise around specific shared challenges.
Entrepreneurs in Kilmarnock will be supported by an onsite ecosystem manager who will provide access to mentoring opportunities with business experts, create connections with likeminded founders and support and share opportunities to help high growth businesses achieve their ambitions. This includes start-up and scale-up workshops and events, sector specific meet-ups and seminars and digital learning materials and networks.
Working with the HALO, Barclays will also enhance employability initiatives for individuals in Ayrshire through its LifeSkills programme, which works to give people the knowledge and confidence they need to succeed in work. Whether that’s a young person preparing for their first job, or someone wanting to progress in their career or start their own business.
The investment is part of the Barclays Rebuilding Thriving Local Economies (RTLE) initiative in Kilmarnock. The RTLE programme is delivering education, skills, and business support through a five-year commitment across four pilot sites in the UK. Working with local partners, the actions undertaken are assessed to establish what works and what doesn’t to help local economies grow and thrive, to better understand how they can be supported going forward.
Stuart Brown, Barclays Head of Branch and Business Banking Scotland, said: “It’s imperative that we support business growth across the country. We’ve seen the impact of the pandemic on businesses and so now, more than ever, we need to support enterprises that will grow and thrive. HALO shares our vision for boosting economic prosperity and diversification through innovation and entrepreneurship. By working in collaboration, we can maximise the support we are able to offer businesses in the area.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how and where we all work and the skills we need. Eagle Labs is committed to supporting the development of skills in entrepreneurship, innovation and in new and emerging technologies such as AI, data exchange, connected devices, advanced manufacturing and much more.”
Dr Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO, said: “The HALO concept has always been about young people and about meeting the needs of the people of Ayrshire and beyond. I’m proud that we’ve been able to attract a Barclays Eagle Lab as it’s the idea generators and the change-makers who will benefit most from its presence within the HALO.
“Now, perhaps more than ever before, we need to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and support those people with an idea to help them turn that into a reality. The HALO, with the support of Barclays and all of our other corporate partners, is uniquely placed to help the people of Ayrshire who, like their forefathers, will become entrepreneurs of the future.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “Entrepreneurship, driving both job creation and economic growth, is playing a key role as we build back better from the pandemic. It’s fantastic to see Scotland’s third Barclays Eagle Lab opening in Kilmarnock, supporting start-up businesses right across Ayrshire to collaborate and share opportunities.
“Backed by £3.5 million UK Government funding as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, the HALO regeneration initiative aims to develop resilience and growth in the local economy. This new Eagle Lab will make a significant contribution to this ambition.”
Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, said: “I’m pleased to welcome a third Barclays Eagle Lab in Scotland. It will help nurture and future-proof skills while building an entrepreneurial ecosystem to positively impact the economy.
“The development is a further vote of confidence in the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Hub in Kilmarnock, which is backed by £3.5 million of Scottish Government Ayrshire Growth Deal funding.
“I also welcome this new investment as a sign of Barclays’ continued commitment to the Scottish economy ahead of the opening of its new global campus in Glasgow later this year.”