London’s ‘meanwhile spaces’ benefitting local startups and small businesses

‘Meanwhile spaces’ are appearing across the capital, making use of the increasing number of empty properties awaiting development, and Londoners are “reaping the benefits”.

The term ‘meanwhile space’ refers to spaces which are temporarily occupied before long-term use is decided, and the likes of food surplus shops, independent cafes, community hubs and learning centres are making use of these and answering the needs of many London communities.

Meanwhile spaces in the capital, such as Boxpark and Coal Drops Yard, have had widespread success with both locals and tourists. But smaller, niche spaces across the capital are reportedly “empowering” children, supporting women’s groups and facilitating startups.

Mahmud Shahnawaz, founder of The Utilize Project, a social enterprise that joins community first startups with meanwhile spaces in the capital, explained: “London communities are in need of smaller businesses that offer specific services to their local areas.

“Meanwhile spaces facilitate just that, due to their peppercorn rental rates they give opportunities for small businesses and community enterprises to develop.”

A variety of London startups are reaping the benefits of meanwhile spaces. Both Nickle Factory and London Imaginative Collective have used the DLT Hub, a temporary tech savvy office space, that was facilitated by The Utilize Project.

A spokesperson from Nickle Factory noted: “This meanwhile space gave us our first opportunity to speak when we were a brand new startup, it was the break we needed to get people on board! There is no other space that attracts people who all work on amazing projects and have a real drive to build the future.”

London Imaginative Collective, a student-run startup, added: “Starting a media company is tough, doing it as students juggling studies and a tiny budget makes it even harder. The DLT Hub meanwhile space has supported us and given us a place to thrive, a place full of entrepreneurs, builders and great minds.”

As property developments continue to see delays, the future of meanwhile spaces is looking bright. Plus, with backing from various London communities, The Utilize Project is predicting increased interest from local councils and developers to facilitate the movement.

By Matthew Neville – Correspondent, Bdaily

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