BEAM us up! New centre offers classy services in world of work

Sarah Quinn and Helen Bowman in the Hub at the BEAM Centre.(0808JB35)

Sarah Quinn and Helen Bowman in the Hub at the BEAM Centre.(0808JB35)

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Welcome to the BEAM Centre, the North West’s latest boost to local business development. Managed by Business in the Community (BITC), The Beam Centre was designed specifically for social enterprises but offers services to all business.

The state-of-the-art Campsie building offers vital support services for both fledgling and established businesses and is operated on a not-for-profit ethos. The centre is a top of the range, comfortable, friendly, multi-functional workspace for businesses, events and meetings, as well as a support centre for those operating in the voluntary and community sectors.

It’s also a home for two large BITC programmes, The Gap Project and Strive 2 Work.

In Strive 2 Work, employers offer 22 week long work placements to the long-term unemployed (more than 18 weeks). Of the 280 graduates from the Beam centre, 165 have since found employment with local businesses such as FirstSource and Apex Housing.

BITC have a core membership of almost 900 companies throughout the UK, and 250 of those companies are members in Northern Ireland. Therefore BEAM tenants may avail of fantastic networking opportunities as well as competitive rental rates for office space. These rates, which are set at £10 per day per desk, allow start up companies to avoid those traditional large overheads such long-term tenancy agreements. Longer term rates are available upon negotiation. BEAM’s community space and conference room allows for meetings for up to 70 delegates.

According to Helen Bowman of BITC: “This space isn’t exclusively for business - community groups such as Elagh Youth Forum use the space and we want to promote the message that this is also a community space. We want to let the local communities know, this is your space.”

Mrs. Bowman added: “We in Business in the Community offer sound economic advantage to start up business with an empasis on reduced cost office space while never budging on top of the line facilities.

“The open plan design allows for interaction between our clients however there exists a possibilty to section work spaces also. However our unique selling point is the rolling support from BITC. We offer a complete mentoring service to all businesses at BEAM in addition to an administration service, a great pool of business resources and the tools to enable businesses to move forward.

“BITC is not about a stamp of approval - it is about asking ‘how can we help you develop your business model?’ Basically we provide the physical infrastructure, technological support and comprehensive support.” The site on which the BEAM centre was built lies within Maydown Works, and was gifted to the local community by INVISTA.

The project has been financed by both the Department for Social Development’s Modernisation Fund and the International Fund for Ireland.