A strategic vision to accelerate the city’s digital sector is materialising months ahead of schedule.

Sheffield City Council had targeted 2019 as the date when the city’s first tech incubator can be opened to help young start-up firms.

However Barclays and Kollider have announced a new partnership agreement that will see the bank launch its first Eagle Lab for the entire Yorkshire area – right here in Sheffield city centre.

A tech incubator is a facility established to nurture young (start-up) firms during their early months or years. It usually provides affordable space, shared offices and services, hand-on management training, marketing support and, often, access to some form of financing.

Eagle Lab is to be located at Castle House, the Grade II-listed 1960s former Co-op department store at Castlegate. It becomes the 16th Eagle Lab following successful sites in locations including London, Liverpool, Cambridge and Cardiff.

Sheffield City Council has invested £3m to regenerate the property. The work is being undertaken by U+I, a leading regeneration company, and Sheffield-based Kollider Projects.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Investment said that he wants Sheffield to have the success in the Digital Revolution as it did in the Industrial Revolution.

“It is our ambition as a Labour-led council to accelerate the pace of digital business development during this Digital Age to create the next generation of successful tech businesses in the city. Successful city centres are drivers of local and national economies and I expect that this new wave of tech businesses will contribute to economic regeneration of this historic area of Sheffield.”

David Mathieson, Barclays Business Banking Area Manager said that the Sheffield digital hub had huge growth potential and he saw the Barclays/Kollider relationship as a sort of perfect, hand-in-glove partnership.

“As a partner, Kollider brings unrivalled expertise in the digital sector, while our Barclays experts are able to provide the mentoring, connections and collaborations required for Yorkshire’s businesses to flourish – you could say that the two are perfectly paired for this partnership,” he said.

Nick Morgan, of Kollider, agreed, saying that the hub had “the power to act as a catalyst for the economic, social, physical and cultural regeneration” in this key part of the city.

“The Barclays Eagle Labs team and wider Barclays community are a critical partner in powering these outcomes,” he added.

A temporary lab is already operational at Barkers Pool House, Burgess Street, Sheffield and anyone wishing view the facilities or learn more about what an Eagle Lab does should contact Amy Melvin on 07818 527728.

For more information on Barclays’ Eagle Labs: https://labs.uk.barclays/