Big Issue Invest

Regeneration of iconic London building to provide affordable and sustainable workspace for ‘green’ startups in the city

A ground-breaking social enterprise which provides affordable desk space for sustainability-focused organisations has secured £3.4 million of investment from Big Issue Invest (BII) and £1.45 million of investment from Lambeth Council to transform the 5th floor of County Hall, which currently sits derelict.

  • Sustainable Workspaces are being supported by a £3.4 million investment by Big Issue Invest’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund II and a £1.45m investment from Lambeth Council
  • Big Issue Invest and Lambeth Council’s funding will support the refurbishment of the 3rd and 5th floors of the iconic County Hall building located in Waterloo into a 600+ desk co-working space
  • Deal will see creation of more than 4,000 green innovation jobs through the support of 1,000 businesses by 2025

Today, (Monday, 20th December), a ground-breaking social enterprise which provides affordable desk space for sustainability-focused organisations has secured £3.4 million of investment from Big Issue Invest (BII) and £1.45 million of investment from Lambeth Council to transform the 5th floor of County Hall, which currently sits derelict.

The news of the investment comes as Sustainable Ventures (SV) marked the opening, on 30th November, of its third workspace in London on the 3rd floor of the iconic County Hall.

Founded in 2011, SV offer affordable desk space, event space, and commercialisation and growth support services to over 50 organisations operating in the social and green economy sectors.  SV typically redevelop derelict industrial sites into co-working spaces using sustainable materials and design principles.

County Hall, SV’s largest workspace to date, provides affordable space for new companies innovating in climate tech or green business, in an unrivalled location directly opposite Parliament and the heart of policy. Empty for over 35 years, SV, BII and Lambeth Council have signed a £5 million (including SV contribution) partnership to develop the 3rd & 5th floors of County Hall, targeting the creation of more than 4,000 green innovation jobs through the support of 1,000 businesses by 2025.

BII made the most recent investment of £3.4m from its Social Enterprise Investment Fund II (SEIF II).

Cllr Claire Holland, Leader of Lambeth Council: “We are extremely pleased to be heavily involved in supporting the development of Europe’s biggest cleantech hub at the iconic County Hall by investing in the site alongside Big Issue Invest. Lambeth is fast becoming the home of cutting-edge, low-carbon businesses and our partnership with Sustainable Ventures to create this vital space for entrepreneurs will create vital skilled green jobs for our residents.”

Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest said: “Sustainable Ventures is a key organisation supporting early- stage social enterprises and one of only a few impact focused co-working spaces. We are so pleased to be able to provide the opportunity to invest in an organisation that is both asset backed and focused on supporting the social market”

Jonny Page, Investment Director at Big Issue Invest said: “Sustainable Ventures has been a brilliant partner of ours and we are delighted to build on that with, at £3.4m, one of our largest investments to-date from the Social Enterprise Investment Fund II. This is a game-changing organisation leading the way in social and green innovation. I would like to thank our legal partners, Ashurst LLP, who through their expert support, has made this possible.”

James Byrne, partner of Sustainable Ventures said, “The politicians haven’t done nearly enough, the next decade of delivery is crucial. The only way forward is to demonstrate larger green job growth giving the government greater scope to go further, faster, by supporting startups to scale their commercial success”.

For more information, please visit www.bigissueinvest.com or www.sustainableworkspaces.co.uk.

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Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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