Mar 9, 2016 | By Kira

British banking service Barclays is expanding its Eagle Labs initiative to give local startups and small business the resources they need to succeed, including access to event space, mentoring, and even 3D printers and laser cutters for building cost-efficient prototypes. After two successful Eagle Labs pilots in Bournemouth and Cambridge, Barclays will open a third Eagle Lab in Brighton this week, followed by 20 more locations across the UK this year.

Supported by Digital Eagles, which provides Internet and tech literacy to Barclay’s customers, the Eagle Labs will be tailored to the specific needs of local entrepreneurs, businesses, and even students. They are divided into two categories: first, the Eagle Lab Incubators, which target fast-growing firms and entrepreneurs who are projecting 20 per cent growth or more. The Incubators provide mentoring and networking opportunities, and taps into Barclays’ extensive financial expertise.

Second, there are the Eagle Labs Maker Spaces, which provide access to 3D printers, laser cutters and vinyl cutters, allowing startups and individuals to rapidly prototype and test new products. This rapid prototyping capability eliminates the need to import costly parts from overseas, and will allow innovative new products to get from concept to market much more quickly. In addition to providing access to the 3D printers, the Eagle Labs also provide Induction courses to teach new makers the ins and outs of 3D printing technology, ensuring that everyone can use this resource to its fullest potential, regardless of their skill or experience level.

Both of the existing Eagle Labs pilots in Bournemouth and Cambridge, as well as the upcoming space in Brighton, are 3D printing Maker Spaces. Cambridge will also become home to the first Eagle Labs Incubator, set to open in early 2016.

“Technology is transforming the speed at which start-ups can grow and scale. Simply having access to a 3D printer can now help people turn a clever idea into a business success overnight, and by providing practical resources alongside our financial expertise, we intend to help people succeed,” said Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK.

“As the fastest growing digital hub in the UK we were delighted that Bournemouth became home to one of the first Barclays Eagle Labs in recent weeks,” added John Beesley, Leader of the Bournemouth Borough Council. “The early take up has been very encouraging and our aim is for many local people, businesses and entrepreneurs to use this new facility. The Eagle Lab is a key part of our drive to grow our digital economy which is backed by many local partners including the Chamber of Commerce, Bournemouth University, the Arts University of Bournemouth, neighbouring local authorities, Silicon Beach and Silicon South.”

According to the Barclays and BGF Entrepreneurs Index, the number of active companies in the UK is at its highest in three years, growing 3.86% in early 2015—fthe largest percentage increase since the Index began. At the same time, the percentage of high-growth companies has only decreased. There is thus a significant gap between startups that will open this year, and those that will actually do well. With its Eagle Labs initiative, Barclays hopes to close that gap.

Another interesting statistic from the Index revealed that both the computer software sectors and industrial products and services sectors showed relatively high proportions of deals in the UK, meaning that there is demand for the tech-based businesses and startups that Barclays Eagle Labs initiative aims to foster--all they need might is a little 3D printer-powered boost.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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