HUB comprises 26,500 square feet of retail, office, warehouse space
A new £4 million business incubator development aimed at entrepreneurs and social enterprises has been opened in Clackmannanshire.
The HUB, which occupies a £4million development in the centre of Alloa, is a joint venture between Alloa Community Enterprises and the Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface (CTSI).
HUB comprises 26,500 square feet of retail, office, warehouse, meeting space, exhibition room and workshop accommodation, as well as one-stop advice shop for start ups, volunteers, businesses and community organisations.
George Reid, Chairman of ACE and Lord Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire, said the HUB will support Alloa's 500 voluntary organisations, providing them with accommodation, workshop and meeting spaces.
He said: “Voluntary organisations are the lifeblood of this county and country and, without them – particularly in these hard times of cuts all round – we would not be a caring, sharing society.
“The HUB will provide short term incubator space for emergent social enterprises.
“It will be a base for the development of programmes aimed at supporting the long-term unemployed and those with learning difficulties.
“Its splendid new retail space will showcase goods donated to ACE which, through supported employment, will be refurbished by local people trained in carpentry, the repair of electrical goods, and in soft furnishing and upholstery.”
ACE, which was started 22 years ago with a grant of just £1,000, has grown into an organisation with an annual turnover of more than £1 million, employs more than 40 people and diverts almost 20,000 tons of waste from landfill.
Malcolm McArdle, managing director of ACE and chairman of CTSI, said: “The HUB has been specially developed to become the volunteer and social enterprise focus for Clackmannanshire.
“It already houses three organisations employing 41 staff and 29 volunteers.
“Already there is a real buzz about the place with CTSI having signed up 431 third sector organisations as members, registered 65 new volunteers and identified 29 volunteering opportunities for seven different organisations in the space of a few weeks.”
According to the UK Government social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals which plough profits back into organisations and communities is now worth over £20 billion to the economy.