Getting down to business

Joyce stood outside the Town Hall

Islington Council’s affordable workspace programme supports local, budding entrepreneurs to build a business and thrive. Islington currently has four workspaces where local people can work for free or at a significantly reduced rent: from textile workshops to recording suites. Some are workers’ co-operatives or social innovators; others support those who are underrepresented in certain business sectors. Joyce Ogunade, head of the programme, tells us more

Tell us about your role.

The team and I work to deliver and manage genuinely affordable and inclusive workspaces in Islington, which are managed for us by a variety of carefully selected providers.

The idea is to provide small businesses that are rooted in Islington with an affordable space to operate in, challenging inequality and putting local people at the heart of our economy.

How do affordable workspaces benefit local people?

The workspaces provide education, training and job opportunities, as well as a network of local entrepreneurs who can learn from each other, sharing knowledge and best practice. They are also protected from rising rents, allowing businesses to focus on what is important.

Who are affordable workspaces aimed at?

The good thing is it is open to all: from those who wish to start their business journey, to those who are established within their sector and looking for a new location, or exploring ways to give back to the local community. We want to create an inclusive economy where everyone can thrive, wherever they came from.

What are you most proud of about the scheme?

We have been operating for three years and have already delivered £1.24m of social value. This alone shows why this programme works and is a huge benefit to our local community. Collaborative working and partnerships ensure that many benefit from this programme, not just a few.

Four affordable workspaces are open right now – what’s next?

The programme is evolving and growing. We will be opening eight new spaces in the next 18 months, with a very exciting opportunity that will be announced soon.

For more information, email or visit the council website.

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