Mayor’s High Street Fund delivering major improvements in Brixton

A brand new co-working space for local entrepreneurs has officially opened in Brixton today – the first of a range of initiatives to boost the town centre delivered by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s High Street Fund.

Impact Hub Brixton provides a variety of affordable work space options for start-up companies, a wide range of events and opportunities for local people with business ideas to meet and network.

The new space is located within Pop Brixton, on Brixton Station Road, a pioneering new scheme made out of recycled shipping containers in the heart of Brixton created with the local community in mind to showcase the best and most exciting independent start-ups and businesses from across Lambeth. Until now, Impact Hub Brixton has been based temporarily at Lambeth Town Hall.

With a total grant of £869,000, Brixton is the largest recipient of the Mayor’s £9 million High Street Fund which aims to make the capital’s high streets even better places to visit, live in and do business in. The High Street Fund has awarded £91,000 towards Impact Hub Brixton. In addition, Lambeth Council has invested £30,000 and Pop Brixton £60,000 into the new space.

This is the first stage of a wide ranging package of innovative ways to support local businesses and the area around the high street. Over the next months the High Street Fund will deliver a new public realm scheme in the iconic Electric Avenue which has been developed in collaboration with market traders. It will also deliver a state-of-the-art wifi and point of sales purchase system for local traders and the world’s first cash machine for a local currency, the Brixton Pound.

The High Street Fund is part of the Mayor’s overall £129 million investment in high streets that has already helped 56 high streets across London and attracted £56 million of match funding from public and private sector partners.

The Impact Hub was officially opened today by Daniel Moylan, Chairman of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group. He said:

“London’s high streets and places of work are the beating heart of the capital’s business community and part of what makes our city so special. By investing in Brixton we will be able to help the town centre develop and remain competitive so that it can fully contribute to the capital’s economic success. Impact Hub Brixton will play a crucial part in this ongoing regeneration, providing innovative local people with a brand new space to share ideas and fulfil their entrepreneurial ambitions.”

Since its foundation 18 months ago on a temporary site, approximately 150 local businesses have been nurtured or established by Impact Hub Brixton including ‘Snact’ who have developed fruit snacks from produce that would otherwise be discarded, and ‘School Ground Sounds’ which works with secondary schools in London to develop access to the music business. The move to this purpose built premises allows the Hub to expand and continue to provide a home for local businesses and entrepreneurs aiming to make positive social and environmental impact.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth, said:

“Lambeth as a borough is a small business hub, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the new enterprises that I’m sure will soon be added to the local economy as a result of this initiative. Our work with Impact Hub Brixton has been an important partnership, that has successfully created new job and business opportunities for local people. I’m delighted that the Impact Hub team now firmly in place at our latest local business development project Pop Brixton.”

Joost Beunderman, co-founder of Impact Hub Brixton, said:

“Impact Hub Brixton is part of a global network but locally rooted. Since moving to POP Brixton we have attracted lots of new members and the number of enquiries we have received has doubled. We support a wide range of start-ups from social ventures like School Ground Sounds and Snact to tech ventures like Kokoon, a group of founders with an idea for high quality sleep-supporting headphones who raised $1.9m from nearly 8,500 backers whilst Impact Hub members. Their team has grown from a handful to 12 people and they now have their own premises in Loughborough junction.”

Grants awarded in March are now being invested in 42 high streets. The investment has levered around £20 million of match funding from local authorities and private sector partners, with £3.42 million specifically for culture related activities on or near the high street.