Eagle Labs to land at Whitehaven in boost for SMEs

The Bus Station

Barclays is launching its first Eagle Labs business incubator space in Cumbria, in partnership with BEC and funded by Sellafield as part of its Social Impact Multiplied programme, to help boost Cumbria’s start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Businesses can apply now to become residents at the Whitehaven Eagle Lab, the 24th location in the nationwide network, when the space opens along with the Bus Station development on the May 25.

The Eagle Lab, which forms part of the redevelopment of Whitehaven’s former bus station on Bransty Row, will provide start-ups and entrepreneurs with a mixture of co-working, office and meeting space, plus a ‘makerspace’ for rapid prototyping, with equipment including laser cutters, 3D printers and electronics stations.

Barclays will support entrepreneurs with access to banking services, business expertise, mentoring and coaching from scale-up specialists. The team will also host a full year-round events programme dedicated to promoting collaboration and innovation in the community.

Beyond providing a hub to work from, Eagle Labs offer members the opportunity to connect with like minded entrepreneurs, local organisations, universities, industry bodies and potential clients and investors across the country, to help them build their networks and grow.

Additionally, to boost the digital transformation of Whitehaven and the surrounding areas, Barclays Digital Eagles will offer free digital education and training. Available for people of all ages throughout the community, the Digital Eagles will help anybody who needs support to build digital confidence and stay safe online.

Michael Pemberton, chief executive at BEC, said: “We pride ourselves on breathing new life and purpose into places that have been neglected.

“This is not just another office. The Bus Station is a hybrid workplace blending work, creativity, learning, food and drink in an inspiring and collaborative space. We are thrilled to be working with Sellafield and Barclays to support start-ups and entrepreneurs to innovate, invent and thrive.

“Together we can create real opportunities to build lasting partnerships, attract investment and unlock the potential in our communities, ultimately building a diverse and sustainable local economy for Cumbria.”

The Bus Station development is being delivered by BEC with funding from Sellafield through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The collaborative approach to the project supports the NDA group’s strategy to deliver sustainable investment to help drive long term economic growth for local communities.

Martin Chown, Sellafield chief executive, said: “We are proud to have invested £5.7m in the Bus Station development as part of Six, the Sellafield social impact programme, to bring this building into reality.

“The Eagle Lab is a cornerstone of our work to help diversify and grow the local economy and this success can act as a template for communities like ours around the country. This is an incredibly exciting development, representing years of work and it really demonstrates an enormous vote of confidence in West Cumbria.”

Jon Hope, director of Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “We’re really excited to partner with BEC and Sellafield to bring the first Eagle Lab to Cumbria.”