A row of shops in New Cross is about to be transformed by Goldsmiths, University of London into a space to help local people start or grow a business.
The new Enterprise Hub will offer flexible workspace as well as business advice, workshops and networking events for the local community and Goldsmiths students and alumni. There will be a particular focus on encouraging women entrepreneurs and those from BAME backgrounds.
The buildings on New Cross Road, which are long overdue for renovation, will be turned into over 6,600 square feet (619 square metres) of space for enterprise activities alongside a new cafe space and garden. The plans include building a lift for the Hub that will also serve Deptford Town Hall – making spaces such as The Constance Howard Gallery and Council Chambers fully accessible for the first time.
Enabling works for the first stage of the project will begin in January 2020.
The College has been working closely with the only current users of the space, cafe Out of the Brew and costume shop Prangsta, offering financial support and help with finding potential alternative premises. Out of the Brew has been invited back to run the new cafe when the Hub opens in 2021.
The intention is that, by linking up local businesses and social enterprises with Goldsmiths expertise, the Hub will to lead to the creation of more than 80 jobs in the Lewisham area.
Anthony Crowther, Enterprise Hub Manager, said:
“From January people will notice hoardings going up and building work beginning as part of this important new project. At every stage of the process we have thought carefully about how the Hub can benefit everyone from independent local businesses looking to grow to students looking to go freelance or start a social enterprise.
“Over the next year we’ll be running a series of events with local entrepreneurs and businesses to see how Goldsmiths expertise can help them develop their ideas. Through the combination of this new space and new services we aim to give our community the sort of focal point for innovation it has been sorely lacking.”
It is estimated that the first stage of the project, focusing on 302, 304, & 306 New Cross Road, will cost £6m with £2.3m in external funding from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund and Strategic Investment Pot. Subject to identifying sufficient funding, further plans are being developed for renovating the rest of the terraces.
The Project Board has committed to making the Enterprise Hub a green project and is aiming to achieve BREEAM accreditation.