New digital and entrepreneurship hub planned at historic Robert Gordon University HQ

A former administration building at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen is to undergo a £1.5 million refurbishment to create a dedicated regional hub for digital and entrepreneurship activity.

The Category A listed building on Schoolhill is being developed by private sector economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) in partnership with digital tech incubator CodeBase and the university.

The 20,000 square foot Hub will provide the base for the recently formed ONE CodeBase partnership between ONE D&E and CodeBase, and for RGU’s new entrepreneurship accelerator programme. RGU also plans to deliver its innovation programme activities from the Hub.

The Hub will combine hot desking, co-working and office space for early stage digital companies as they grow towards investor readiness with flexible accommodation for established and growing digital companies. Meeting and collaboration space will ensure the Hub supports the ambitions of existing entrepreneurs and their companies, facilitates creative interaction between businesses and their customers, and inspires the next generation of entrepreneurs to create and grow new businesses in the North East of Scotland.

The refurbishment of the Hub will begin this autumn and it will open in spring 2019.

ONE D&E aims to accelerate the growth of early stage and established digital tech businesses in North East Scotland, help the region’s key industries embrace transformational digital solutions to improve productivity, and enhance the entrepreneurial environment to support company creation and scale-up.

Sir Ian Wood, chair of ONE D&E, said: “Building digital capacity and capability in North East Scotland is central to delivering the shared ambition of a long-term regional economic renaissance. ONE D&E is investing in activity and a dedicated space to support digital cluster growth in the region. The development of the D&E Hub in Aberdeen city centre will provide a focal point for digital tech business incubation and growth and wider entrepreneurship activity.”

Gordon McConnell, vice principal of commercial and regional innovation at RGU, said: “We share an ambitious vision with ONE to drive digital and entrepreneurship activities in the region to support company creation and growth and new generations of innovators and entrepreneurs. The development of the Hub will see one of RGU’s iconic and historic city centre buildings reinvigorated as a centre for new activity involving ONE D&E, RGU and ONE CodeBase. This is an important evolution in the relationship between RGU and ONE as we invest in the future success of the North East economy.”

Steven Drost, chief strategy officer at CodeBase, added: “CodeBase is proud and excited to come to Aberdeen. Having a strong partner in ONE means that we can get straight to work helping start-ups grow and we will also be there for established businesses who understand that they can use start-up smarts for managing digital transformation and innovation. It is our mission to be a strong additive to the local ecosystem, and a place where start-ups, mentors, and meet ups all cluster to do good work.”

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