Allia Future Business Centre in East London was paid a visit by Meg Hillier, Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch last week. She joined a business breakfast hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses in Hackney to discuss issues that small business are faced with in the East London area, and covered topics such as Brexit, business rates, workspace and rent.
These issues are critically affecting local businesses as Hackney’s living costs and rent is becoming increasingly expensive. Meg spoke about the importance of small business growth and how it plays a huge role in providing economic opportunity and growth in her constituency.
Meg Hillier explains: “The combination of rent rises, business rates and the uncertainty over Brexit is piling the pressure on business. Hackney is rightly proud of its diverse small independent business sector, but it is facing great pressure. It would be good to see Hackney residents and local business support each other by buying goods and services locally.”
To support the local area, Allia runs its Serious Impact programmes from its centre in the heart of Hackney, welcoming established small businesses to apply for the hyper-local ‘Grow Your Business’ programme. This 12-week intensive programme is focused on supporting them so that they can grow and scale their business, contributing towards boosting the local economy in East London.
Affordable workspace was also raised by Meg as a key issue. Small businesses in London are spending nearly a third of turnover on commercial space. They are also under threat of being pushed out of the area, particularly in Hackney where businesses under the arches are being sold off by Network Rail, leaving many small businesses facing huge rent increases.
Allia strives to support the thriving hub of local business in East London. Any startups on the Allia Serious Impact programmes are given access to free 24/7 desk space, while affordable rates for co-working and meeting room space are offered to entrepreneurs outside of the programme.
Caroline Hyde, Managing Director of Business Viability at Allia says: “It was great to hear Meg (Hillier) recognise the importance of small business and affordable workspace in Hackney for creating jobs and economic inclusion. We’re really proud to be playing our part in the local eco-system through the Future Business Centre and Serious Impact programme. We know how vital space and support are for new and existing businesses and her support on business rates and for the Guardians of the Arches campaign is really valued.”