Joining forces to help entrepreneurs start, grow and connect
Leicester consistently ranks highly as one of the best places in the UK to start a business, boasting higher than average business survival rates, excellent geographical connectivity, access to talent and low cost of living (Barclays’ SME Growth Factors Index and ATT place Leicester 2nd and 3rd nationally). In 2018 Tech Nation identified Leicester as having the biggest increase in new digital technology firms in the last decade, and Start-up Britain placed Leicester 2nd in the UK for start-up growth.
The city and the region are brimming with entrepreneurial talent, and to continue to realise this considerable potential local organisations and entrepreneurial communities are collaborating to make it easier for early stage start-ups, social innovators and entrepreneurs to find and connect with the help they need.
Leicester Start-up Coworking Project
Through the Leicester Start-up Coworking Project, partners from across the region have joined forces to harness and build on Leicester and Leicestershire’s strengths, to create a more connected and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and to make the region first choice for start-ups in the UK.
The Project was initiated by University of Leicester, De Montfort University, LCB Depot (part of Leicester City Council), Leicester Startups network and the Cooperative and Social Development Agency (CASE). It is part funded by £100,000 of pooled business rates project revenue fund, from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and with equivalent support from the partner organisations.
The initiative aims to nurture early stage businesses and social innovations through targeted events and activities to further develop the reach and impact of the city’s already thriving networks.
Leicester Startups A community of existing and aspiring entrepreneurs helping each other to succeed. Leicester Startups CIC is a social enterprise with a mission to support entrepreneurs, established as a direct result of the Leicester Start-up Co-working Project. It offers a wide range of help including:
• A shared calendar of events provided by partners across the city, including one to one mentoring, founder roundtables, meet the start-up events and workshops for entrepreneurs
• Weekly email bulletins with news and events from Leicester’s start-up community
• Monthly podcast series introducing successful local founders
• Flexible co-working space for entrepreneurs, social innovators and start-up teams
LLEP Business Gateway / Growth Hub A government funded business support and signposting service, the Growth Hub, established by the LLEP, is able to provide direct business coaching support and workshops and signpost to a variety of areas of support including:
• Business growth and expansion plans, recruitment and investing
• Access to finance, including local and national grants and loans programmes
• Premises and search for new commercial property
• Employment and skills
• Regulation and compliance
University of Leicester – Leicester Innovation Hub (LIH) – The LIH works closely with industry and start-ups to accelerate innovation by turning great research and business ideas into innovative products, services through free or subsidised innovation support.
University of Leicester students and graduates can also access programmes of support to develop new business ventures including access to workshops, seed funding, workspace and Entrepreneurs in Residence.
De Montfort University – DMU Innovation Centre (IC) – The IC supports start-up businesses, freelancers and future entrepreneurs. Located in the heart of Leicester City Centre on the De Montfort University Campus, the IC offers:
• Workspace available for lease
• A publicly accessible free Coworking space
• Meeting and svent space hire
• Regular start-up and innovation events and workshops
DMU students and graduates can also access programmes of support to develop their enterprise skills and new business ventures.
Leicester City Council – LCB Depot – Leicester’s creative hub, at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter since 2004. LCB Depot offers workspace and studios for creatives, artists and designer-makers, meeting rooms, café and social and a variety of networking events and leads on city-wide creative initiatives and campaigns such as Design Season.
Cooperative and Social Development Agency (CASE) – CASE aims to grow the impact of the co-operative and social enterprise. If you are thinking about starting a business CASE can help you decide if the co-operative or social enterprise models are right for you. Established in 1982, CASE is itself an employee owned co-operative and has helped establish many other successful co-operatives, social enterprises and community businesses in the East Midlands
Our Champions and Supporters
Here are just some of the organisations which have provided invaluable support to the Leicester Start-up Coworking Project so far:
We are always looking for help from individuals or organisations who want to contribute to supporting entrepreneurs. If you feel you would like to offer support please contact the Leicester Start-up Coworking Project Manager on LeicInnovation@le.ac.uk.