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Slick Northern Ireland Creative Business Incubator set to Open

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by Startacus Admin

Based adjacent to the innovative “Peace Bridge” in Derry’s city centre, is Ebrington Square, a formerly disused military barracks and parade ground.

The last few years have seen it being renovated and becoming a true cultural hub for the once divided city in Northern Ireland. Ebrington is now a collaborative and shared space for all sections of the community and now, with Eighty81 the startup sector in Northern Ireland.

Eighty81Therefore this makes it the perfect location for the Eighty81 incubator NEST to help the budding startups and businesses that want to settle their roots in Derry~Londonderry. Eighty81 is a shared creative workspace managed by Blick Studios and Ilex Urban Regeneration; from May 2015 it will play host to the NEST incubator which will help 8 creative businesses grow and expand into much bigger ventures within the city and beyond.

Ever curious to find out more, we had a chat with Christine James, founder of Blick Studios and the Hub Manager for Eighty81 about the new premises and the programme itself;

Howdy Christine - Give us your pitch - Why should someone consider applying for NEST?

NEST is a 15 month incubation programme. Participants will get workspace and bespoke business support including mentoring, business planning support and advice and business growth workshops

NEST IncubatorThe main benefits of NEST are as follows:

  • NEST features a tiered payment schedule which means that when you are starting out and not generating revenue you pay less and as your business grows, costs increase gradually, so at the end of the incubation period your business will be ready and able to pay the normal desk space rates in the creative hub or function outside Eighty81
  • Participation in the NEST Programme provides you with unique and bespoke specialist creative industries business support which includes quarterly business growth workshops, ongoing mentoring support with creative industry professionals and monthly one on one business planning and development sessions
  • Participation in the NEST Programme allows you to work alongside other like-minded creative start ups at a similar stage of development, you get to share ideas, experiences, inspiration and support each other
  • Participation in the NEST programme means you get to work within the overall supportive and creative work environment of Eighty81, alongside like-minded but more experienced creative entrepreneurs you can connect, collaborate and learn from.

So, what do you think are the three biggest advantages of going on an incubator programme such as NEST?

Working Alongside like minded entrepreneurs

Business Incubator Northern IrelandGathering entrepreneurs together under one roof on an incubator programme creates a supportive and inspiring work environment. Entrepreneurs can support and encourage each other and share business advice, information, skills and contacts and work together and help each other to build successful businesses.

Business Support and Advice

Incubator programmes provide business advice and support on a broad range of business issues on an ongoing basis throughout. This advice helps entrepreneurs to make the right decisions, gives them time and space to focus and also helps them to maintain momentum and continue to drive their business forward throughout the programme.

Lower Operating Costs

Tenants in an incubator programme share a wide range of overhead costs, including utilities, office equipment, computer services, conference rooms. This means basic rent costs are usually below normal for the region in which the fledgling business is operating, which takes financial pressure off participating entrepreneurs.
Eighty81 Space

What type of person / start-up are you looking for?

We are seeking ambitious creative people or startups with innovative business ideas they are hoping to grow and develop. To be eligible they have to either not have started trading yet or have been trading for less than 30 months. They need to have a creative industry business/business idea and have the potential to grow into a sustainable company capable of functioning outside Eighty81. Creative businesses will be classified as eligible for the NEST programme according to the UK’s definition of the creative industries.

Eighty81 EntranceWhat else can an individual or a business do at Eighty81?

Eighty81 is a shared creative workspace managed by Blick Studios on behalf of Ilex Urban Regeneration in Ebrington Derry~Londonderry. Eighty81 will create a supportive and inspiring work environment where creatives can meet and work alongside other like minded creatives and collaborate, learn, grow and develop their businesses.

As well as incubation space Eighty81 will offer flexible and affordable shared workspace and private offices to creative businesses. All the space is fully serviced and furnished and our prices are all inclusive including rent, rates, utilities, broadband and use of meeting space, making renting an office simple.

We also have a conference room and event space available to hire and offer virtual services for creative businesses just starting out that can’t yet afford workspace or for those happy to work from home but seeking a professional public image for their business.

Fast forward 12 months - what's your vision for Eighty81 more generally?

Our vision for Eighty81 is to create a supportive, nurturing and inspiring workspace for a wide mix of creative industry start-ups. To build a sense of community and encourage and support creative industry businesses within Derry~Londonderry to start, grow and develop and to make Eighty81 a hub of creative industry activity and energy and a useful resource for Derry~Londonderry creative industry start-ups.

Cheers Christine and we wish you and the team well with Eighty81.

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Published on: 18th February 2015

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