August 11th marked the first anniversary of companies moving into the Tontine, an innovation centre in Glasgow that supports the growth of companies in the enabling technology, advanced design and manufacturing, and creative economy sectors.
The Tontine was the first Glasgow City Region City Deal project to open in Glasgow, and has been a huge success, with office and desk capacity already at 90% after the first year.
The Tontine was set the target of supporting and sustaining young companies with 5-10 employees in high-tech, high-growth sectors, and creating 536 new jobs through the support of 134 companies by 2021. It is expected to generate £53.6million for the economy of the Glasgow city region through its status as a space for companies to grow in a supported environment.
The Tontine hosts high-quality and flexible workspaces for these companies, with a focus on those sectors which link with the city’s universities – to maximise cross-fertilisation between growing companies in the city and major multi-nationals and research programmes situated close by. These spaces include breakout booths; networking and meeting areas; office and desk spaces; all of which are very attractive to both new and established organisations in these sectors.
Some of the companies located at the Tontine include Ambiental, City Fibre, Code Clan, DRJN, Incremental Group, GenAnalytics and Kite Power Systems.
Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet, said: “I am delighted by the ongoing success of The Tontine, creating high-quality jobs and growth in these key sectors of Glasgow’s current and future economy. The performance in the first year is even better than expected, showing how effective this type of supportive environment for growing businesses is. The Tontine is undoubtedly a great success story for the Glasgow City Region City Deal, and is poised to play a key role in the city’s economic growth over the next four years.”
Councillor Iain Nicolson, Leader of Renfrewshire Council and holder of the Enterprise portfolio for the Glasgow City Region City Deal, said: “The Tontine is a fantastic facility providing the perfect environment for innovative organisations from across a range of sectors to grow and develop. I am pleased to see how far it has come in such a short space and time and am sure its continued progress will be of benefit to the entire Glasgow City region. Through the City Deal we are committed to developing the infrastructure and making connections across communities which generates jobs and bolsters economic growth.”
Neil Logan, CEO of Incremental Group, said: “Tontine has played an important role in helping us create Incremental Group. When we first arrived a year ago we were three people with a vision to build a different type of digital services company. Today we employ almost 50 people across two sites with more than a dozen based here at Tontine. Tontine has provided us with a first class office in the heart of the Merchant City that has flexed to meet our requirements every step of the way. We have got to know many of the other businesses located here, have worked closely with the Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise teams and have even managed to give a few talks to students at CodeClan. It’s been a fantastic year for us as a business and the team at Tontine have been a big part of that.”
Dr Jillian Ney, Digital Behavioural Scientist, said: “At DRJN we were remote workers before moving into Tontine, and we’ve now found that having a physical space where we can all be together and mixed in with like-minded businesses has increased our productivity and we’re working as a more coherent group. The events space at Tontine is also amazing, and we’re looking forward to running a series of events there from September.”
By 2021, it is envisaged that 134 businesses will be supported at The Tontine, with each expected to increase their staff numbers by at least four per business. This will result in the creation of 536 new jobs resulting in an increased turnover of £53.6m over the term of the programme.
The Tontine is a five year project, led by Glasgow City Council and delivered with support from the other Glasgow city region local authorities, Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.
The building housing the Tontine was once the home of the workshop of legendary Scottish inventor James Watt. The Glasgow City Region City Deal will deliver 20 infrastructure schemes – bringing a forecast 43,000 jobs during and after construction – but will also, as in projects such as The Tontine, use innovation to deliver economic growth in Glasgow and surrounding areas.