Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK, visited the bank’s small firms incubator facility in the heart of the city’s business district, to meet with some of the fledgling entrepreneurs. Tony McDonough reports
A facility in Liverpool’s 4 St Paul’s Square for local start-up businesses has been hailed as a “fantastic resource” by the UK boss of European banking giant Santander.
Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK, visited the bank’s small firms incubator facility in the heart of the city’s business district, to meet with some of the fledgling entrepreneurs.
And he saw first-hand how 4 St Paul’s Square was now becoming one of Liverpool city region’s leading hubs for enterprise and innovation.
Speaking after his visit, Mr Bostock said: “The facility at St Paul’s Square is a fantastic resource for Santander.
“It not only gives us an excellent base in the city’s vibrant business community, so that we can better understand and meet their banking needs, but also it is a base for our incubator, where we support micro businesses who are just getting started.
“We hope that by supporting these businesses with free office space and the right support network, many of them will go on to become part of Liverpool’s business success story in the future.”
First class support
There are 16 early-stage businesses currently based at the incubator and all receive first-class business support and benefit from a rent-free arrangement for 12 months.
That entrepreneurial spirit is in evidence throughout the building. Another tenant, fast-growing technology firm Gas Tag is in the process of rolling out its gas safety system in homes across the UK.
Liverpool’s fastest-growing law firm MSB Solicitors also made 4 St Paul’s its home earlier this year and has broken through the £5m turnover barrier for the first time in its history.
The dynamic businesses resident there include risk management consultant Mercer and commercial property consultancies CBRE and GVA.
On the ground floor is Ziferblat, a first-of-its-kind, pay-as-you-go concept where all food, drink and wi-fi is provided for free and customers pay for the time they spend in there.
Neil Kirkham, director at CBRE in Liverpool, said: “4 St Paul’s offers some of the only grade A space left in Liverpool’s business district – but it is so much more than just office space.
“As Nathan Bostock can now testify to, there is a real entrepreneurial energy around this building and people are talking to each other and supporting each other.
“Just last week, the building was the venue for an ‘access to alternative finance’ seminar, which featured top speakers including Nisha Katona, founder of fast-growing Indian street food restaurant brand, Mowgli.
“The space and facilities here are top drawer and the buzz being created makes it a brilliant place to work and thrive.
“We’re in conversations with potential new tenants – the building is certainly receiving a great deal of interest – but there is still space available and we would urge people to come and see for themselves.”
Andrew Owen of Liverpool-based property agents Worthington Owen and joint agents at 4 St Paul’s Square, added: “We have ambitious plans for the building to make it more accessible and more appealing to modern occupiers.
“Those small, dynamic businesses and start-ups, the likes of those that may have begun life at the Santander Business Incubator, are fast becoming the lifeblood of the Liverpool city region and we in the commercial property sector have a responsibility to ensure that they can be accommodated.
“We are currently looking at splitting floor plates at 4 St Paul’s. We believe that by creating smaller suites – from as little as 1,000 sq ft – and including additional, less traditional benefits to tenants, we can open the building up to a new type of occupier. We want to appeal to emerging sectors, such as digital and tech, that are currently not particularly well catered for.”
4 St Paul’s Square offers some of the only remaining Grade A office space in Liverpool city centre and incorporates LG3 lighting anf 4 pipe fan coil air conditioning throughout, as well as metal-tiled suspended ceilings and full access raised floors. 4 St Paul’s Square also offers the largest column-free floorplate in the city.