With an increasing number of Fintech companies based in Manchester a much needed central hub for this growing ecosystem has been widely welcomed by the region’s business and tech community.
The flagship Eagle Lab based in the city centre was launched in September last year. Situated opposite Manchester Town Hall and within easy reach I was delighted to accept an invitation to be given a guided tour complete with intros to their resident startups and scaleups.
The ground floor includes a large staffed reception, café and auditorium which is open to the public. With its prime location and glass front Eagle Labs has an inviting look and feel before you even walk through the door. I had already had the pleasure of seeing some of what Manchester Eagle Lab has to offer and was excited to see what was behind the scenes.
On my arrival I was greeted by the sounds of a lively and well attended workshop in the auditorium with a large digital display outside that listed other events over the following days. Ecosystem Manager Matthew Priestley was to be our tour guide for the afternoon and introduced me to the rest of the group with a quick explainer of the Labs and the day ahead.
Having heard about companies and projects based at Eagle Lab at previous events I was keen to find out more on a one to one basis. What was immediately evident on my tour around the building was that Manchester Eagle Lab is a well run modern work space that’s already making its mark on the local tech and business community.
With the introductions complete we were then taken to the co-working space which included a hotdesks area with a selection of 4 – 12 person offices. Here we met and spoke to founders who ran their companies from Eagle Labs and who kindly demoed their products and services and answered our questions.
What I found different about Manchester Eagle Labs was the expertise that the Barclays onsite staff can deliver in terms of commercial acumen. This together with a mutual incentive to help their residents prosper creates an atmosphere of focused productivity.
The spirit of fostered innovation doesn’t stop within the Eagle Labs network of members based throughout the UK but is also invited into the Labs from the wider community.
Open workshops had included a crash course on how to create podcasts with BBC Podcaster and radio maker Karla Marie Sweet (Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 4, BBC Asian Network) and there are regular networking events such as ‘Early Bird Breakfast’ and ‘Beer & Pizza Evening’ where start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs can meet other entrepreneurs and professionals in a friendly and sociable environment.
The end of the afternoon left me with the impression that whether you are a member of Barclays Eagle Labs or not this is a place where anyone can benefit from. It serves as a convenient place to meet and to have a coffee, to hold an event and of course to base your business whether you are stating out or ready to take your company to the next level.
If you would like to find out more why not visit their website or stop by for a coffee when you are next in the city centre. Many thanks to the Barclays team at Manchester’s Eagle Lab, I look forward to my next visit and to seeing you all very soon.
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