U.K. Government to utilize under-used government office space to support small business startups

by Brianna Crandall — February 20, 2012—The British Government in recent weeks started a major new campaign, “Business in You,” aimed at inspiring people to start or grow their own businesses and helping small businesses and entrepreneurs understand the array of information and help available from the government and private sector.

To help small businesses get off the ground, the British Government is also announcing plans to make empty and under-used government office space available to small businesses so that they can start up and grow. Since many entrepreneurs struggle to find a suitably flexible and affordable space to start their business, this practical measure is intended to support the next generation of British businesses.

There are currently over 300 buildings in the central government estate with space in England, so the U.K. Government, working in co-operation with landlords, will offer as much as this space as possible to small businesses, giving them space to grow at a low cost. The government will invite incubation organizations that help new and existing small businesses prosper, to manage and allocate these spaces. These organizations will also provide the businesses with access to support and business advice.

As part of its overall efficiency program led by the Cabinet Office, the coalition government has already saved £100 million this financial year by exiting leases, and its top priority for dealing with under-used buildings remains to exit properties and make further savings. This startup program will initially run for one year and will involve flexible, short-term arrangements that will make productive use of the assets while they are otherwise sitting empty.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk will work with the Government Property Unit, the BusinessLink Web site, business representative organizations, and StartUp Britain to help would-be businesses that might benefit from this program to identify and investigate government space that is available in their area.