The first Barclays Eagle Lab in the East Midlands has been launched in partnership with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to boost the start-up ecosystem across the region.
Based at DMU’s Innovation Centre on campus, it aims to support start-ups and entrepreneurs led by Ecosystem Manager, Poonam Sharma.
Poonam has years of experience working as part of the city’s business community at the Leicester Barclays branch, and will be working with people all over the region to understand and develop opportunities to support scale-up and growth.
It is one of 34 locations in Barclays’ Eagle Lab network of co-working spaces for start-ups and scale-ups around the country, the largest network of its kind in the United Kingdom.
More than 70 people came along to the launch event held last night at the Innovation Centre, with representatives from Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), Leicester Asian Business Association, Leicester City Council joining businesses, Barclays and DMU staff.
Barclays’ focus for the Eagle Lab Leicester will be on supporting the business communities across the city, county and region. Businesses can be connected to mentors, training and offers and the team will be working with existing start-up organisations in the region to create a peer network that supports start-ups.
Poonam said: “It is great to be in partnership with DMU and I am excited to engage with businesses and the community as we work together to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Leicester.
“There is so much potential in the East Midlands but I know there are challenges too. We want to work with start-ups to help them scale, but also established businesses and high growth companies to take them to the next level.
“I’ve grown up in Leicester and I know the potential and talent there is here, and cannot wait to get started.”
DMU Vice-Chancellor Katie Normington said: “I think the fact that Barclays chose Leicester and DMU to be the base for its work in the East Midlands speaks volumes about the confidence and potential that exists within our business community.
“Leicester is already one of the best cities in which to be an entrepreneur, with one of the highest start-up rates of any UK city. This entrepreneurial spirit is something we nurture at DMU and this year we were proud to be named in the top 10 UK universities for student and graduate start-ups for the second year running.”
Among the businesses supporting the event was IBM. Its Director for the IBM Client Innovation Centres, Tom Finnigan, said: "I think it is great to see the focus on innovation and business in Leicester."
Posted on Wednesday 12th October 2022