Lambeth: Open for Business

31 July, 2014

Written by: Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth

Better jobs, business and skills

Ambition and fairness.

Those two words underpin our priorities across Lambeth and I know they chime with local business people who want to realise their ambitions and aspirations in a borough that’s fair. Fair about cracking down on illegal trading that puts responsible businesses at risk; fair about using our influence to get the best deal for local people and fair in explaining how we make decisions that affect local businesses from parking to street cleaning and licensing.

 

In Lambeth, local really does mean local – over a third of those who work in the borough also live here. The rising cost of public transport and child care means being able to work locally is very attractive so we need to make sure that local businesses are able to thrive. We need to continue to attract the multi-million pound investments that are helping transform Vauxhall and Brixton, bringing homes, jobs and other opportunities.

From start-ups in the Impact Hub at the Town Hall to major redevelopment schemes, it all feeds in to the local economy that is vital to retaining Lambeth’s unique character.

You’ve been very clear in telling me what you need and how we can help:

Space:

New businesses need somewhere to start from, and then somewhere to grow into without being tied into a lease which becomes a barrier to growth. The Impact Hub at the Town Hall already has 70 member businesses,  the Meanwhile space at Pope’s Road will offer similar space and we’re talking to Network Rail about opportunities under railway arches that are already seeing new business like the climbing centre  at Vauxhall.   

Support Services:

Businesses need to concentrate on what they’re good at but, specialist services they need like legal, financial, HR and IT often prove costly to bring in on an ad hoc basis.  We’re already working with our business improvement districts (BIDs) and across Lambeth’s town centres to see if there’s a way of providing  these services on a collective or local B2B arrangement.

Friends & Neighbours:

Apart from specific financial and legal support mentioned above, you said you want be around other businesses who you could partner, trade or collaborate with – post offices, banks with a business facility, access to the internet, and Wifi networks along with space for real face to face meetings with clients or investors.

There’s a lot of that going on already through Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), business associations, employers’ groups and initiatives like the Brixton Pound or the Vauxhall One Perk card. In fact,
Lambeth has the most BIDs in London with the biggest number of businesses too.

Location, location….

Businesses  have to think about where they are – not just in terms of footfall and customers, but for their staff.

Is it easy and safe to get to work? Is there somewhere nearby that’s OK for lunch or a stroll – maybe a swim or gym session after work? What about shops nearby to get dinner on the way home, a card for a friend or an outfit for a night out?

Understanding the interconnectedness of our local environment is essential if Lambeth’s massive regeneration is to be more than a series of new buildings. Businesses are uniquely placed to see what works, what doesn’t and how small things can make a big difference to attracting more customers and retaining good staff. Lambeth is an aspirational borough that’s changing and growing before our eyes.

My role is to make sure that growth is good for everyone – not just the well off and well-connected.

Business is big in Lambeth, but it’s not just big business and that’s what makes the borough so attractive, innovative and creative.  And the voice of business – your voice – is vital. If you’re interested in relocating to Lambeth or an existing business with ideas about what more could be done to support the business community in your neighbourhood (don’t everyone rush and say reduced business rates!) then please do get in touch.

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