- 19th April 2018
- Posted by: Edward Kirkby
- Category: Leeds
Are you a startup founder in Leeds itching to work away from home? Or perhaps you want to scale-up your business but planning a roadmap for success is tough on your own.
Here’s a happy tune: Leeds is abundant with incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces that are doorways to vibrant communities, expert mentoring and a whole host of other super-valuable perks.
Explore your options using this guide to levitate your startup off the ground.
Top Coworking Spaces
Right for: Any startup seeking flexible office space that is cost-effective and built to bring together niche businesses for a supreme networking environment.
Where: The Leeming Building and Number 32
Wizu Workspace is known for its beautiful design, simplicity and distinctive character, virtues it believes sum up the essence of a great workspace.
Wizu Workspace is a trusted workspace partner for thriving and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SME’s. Wizu provides serviced offices, co-working spaces, meeting rooms and virtual offices, all with unlimited coffee and the highest quality connectivity.
With a flexible contract and one fee that covers everything, you will be 100% focused on your business from the outset.
We love Wizu so much, we’ve chosen it as the Accounts Lab head office!
Where: The Pinnacle, Princes Exchange, Wellington Place, City West Business Park
If you’re looking for office space but don’t want to commit to a contract, Regus is ideal. Its coworking spaces are located around the city, and you can pay as you go (even by the hour).
You can also pay per desk and not by office, making this an affordable option if you’re on a budget.
Use Regus and you’ll gain a professional environment to work either on your own or with your staff among hundreds of other budding entrepreneurs. The spaces come equipped with high-speed internet, telecom, a kitchen area, and by-the-hour meeting room rental.
Where: 3 Sheaf Street
Are you a startup founder specializing in creativity? Bored of working from home? Duke Studios is designed for entrepreneurs like you who need outside stimulation and inspiration to shine. Its coworking spaces combine art and comfort for anyone looking to work here.
Membership comes with a host of brilliant perks, from local bar and restaurant discounts, free Yorkshire tea, kitchen access and storage, dedicated phone line permission (if you choose to rent studio space), and membership to Duke Studio’s agency. The minimum length of rent is 1 month for coworking space, which also includes free meeting room hire.
Where: 1 Eastgate
Futurelabs coworking spaces were built for tech-wizards of the I-work-seven-days-a-week variety. You can invest in permanent desk space with 24/7 access, 365 days a year. ‘Rent’ is taken on a monthly basis and is all inclusive. Perks include high-speed internet, bottomless tea and coffee, and free meeting room hire.
Perhaps the biggest perk on offer is Futurelab’s dynamic and vibrant tech community. Share your office time with people you can bounce ideas off, network and form lasting relationships with. Incubators are also on available here for tech startups, as we’ll discuss in a moment.
Where: Duke Street
Innovation is the driving force behind ODI Leeds coworking space, making it an opportune environment for startups developing a product or prototype. The offices are designed with focus on flexibility and minimalism: the space is doorless, filled with natural light, has high ceilings and wipeable white walls (doodling is encouraged).
Recent refurbishment has resulted in four different usable spaces. You can book shared workspace with room for 36 people, classroom style closed boardroom space for a more private setting and large open space designed for events.
Where: Leeds Dock
If working at home is hampering your motivation levels, relocating to Magellan House’s stunning coworking space will undo the damage. It’s location alone is incentive enough to make the most out of using this coworking space. Based on Leeds Dock, entrepreneurs who spend their office time here are treated to striking views by the water. The area is also home to some of the largest technology businesses in Europe, from Sky, EE, to Google’s Digital Garage.
Become a tenant and gain private access to refurbished design led spaces and outdoor terraces, kitchen and WC facilities, and high-speed internet with point-to-point fibre connect. The downside? You’ll never want to work from home again.
Where: New Station Street, Leeds
At the heart of Leeds, Platform can provide a workspace that works for you within a community of communicators, collaborators and cultivators.
A reinvention of a Leeds landmark, Platform offers workspaces for businesses of all sizes with a range of coworking desks, meeting rooms, serviced offices and full floor plates.
Platform provides 24-hour access, an on-site customer service team, business lounge, natural light, on-site car parking, bike racks, superfast internet and much more.
Right for: Startups in the very early stages of development (less than 12 months afloat) looking to gain the essential footholds to become a success story. Membership period is usually for 3 – 4 months.
Where: 1 Eastgate
As well as a coworking space, Futurelabs has hatched a not-for-profit tech incubator to support local startups on their journey to success. Their pro-bono mentoring program is perfect for businesses in the tech industry looking to develop an idea or prototype.
On the table is expert tutelage from mentors matched specifically with a business. Futurelabs mentors are either highly experienced in their industry or from professional firms offering pro-bono advice. Members are also invited to partake in speaking events based on tech such as Java and WordPress, networking meetups and their popular Founders Friday event.
While BBIC is away from the city centre, its support services are not to be missed. Tenants via the organisation’s many office rental schemes (shared office space, hot desks, virtual offices, etc.) are encouraged to use BBIC management support for sustained success in their new business venture.
The not-for-profit organisation aims its services at tech startups or knowledge-based businesses, providing mentoring, coaching and management support to help its tenants create innovative technology. Network events are also held regularly, covering subjects such as Social Media Marketing, SEO, Web Design, Sales & Marketing, and Finance.
Where: University Business Centre – Headingley
The Leeds Beckett Enterprise and Innovation Hub provides training and development to help new businesses soar. They have a range of quality-assured programs, from Leadership and Management coaching, Retail, Food and Drink to Business Growth Series and Enterprise and Innovation.
Ongoing support is also on offer through business mentoring. Fledgling startups can gain the traction they need to scale-up, while learning how to conquer challenges like hiring talent and expanding. Funding options are also available to help startups on a budget access this incubator’s training options.
Right for: Fledgling startups looking to gain tools for rapid and sustained growth. Programs usually last 3-6 months and focus on providing valuable resources, mentoring, and guidance on operations and strategy, management coaching, and branding.
Where: 1 Eastgate
According to their site, “70% of Dotforge startups have raised funding or have revenue for one year.” That’s an encouraging statistic for tech startups looking to accelerate their business’s growth, but how have Dotforge achieved this?
It’s a simple method, but one that’s highly effective. It’s accelerator programme has been molded by experience: Dotforge teaches what it puts into practice, executing a successful model for training solutions through its experience working with businesses. Through expert mentoring and numerous workshops, Dotforge offers its startups a huge network to rely on for success. It also helps businesses become investment ready after 3 months, in addition to offering a cash injection to new members.
Where: 2 Park Cross Street
Entrepreneurial Spark, created by Natwest, is a goldmine for young startups seeking accelerated growth. In its Leeds hub, four programs are available to startups at different stages in their early development.
For instance, if your business has an annual turnover of £99,999 and have secured £5,000 to £24,000 in investment, you’re eligible for their Enable program. On offer is 6 months of acceleration-focused training and support. And the best part? Like Entrepreneurial Spark’s three other programs, startups gain group sessions, hot-desk space, wifi, coffee, and printing access … all for free. All that’s required in return is your dedication to the program (proven through your attendance to compulsory events and workshops).
Where: Duke Street
In addition to ODI’s creative coworking space in Leeds, the organisation has recently built a Startup Accelerator: a year-long program for data-focused startups in exchange for up to 10% equity. Its mission is to support members with the potential to create a positive impact on economic, social, and environmental factors.
Successful applicants are granted office space in central Leeds, a week-long introductory bootcamp, bespoke finance advice, HR, communications, and administration support, as well as tax compliance assistance, ongoing monthly training, and access to exclusive events and networking possibilities.
Move Forward Confidently
Frightening statistics surrounding startup failure rates are littered online. This makes it easy to fear your business’s future, no matter how ambitious you are. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Using this guide, you can gain the resources needed to steer your startup towards an exciting future. And you can do this from a city you know and love, filled with brilliant connections and endless opportunities for the sustained success of your business.
We’ll leave you with a reminder of the best coworking spaces, incubators and accelerators in Leeds. Good luck!