Plans to develop a trio of new Regional Digital Hubs were announced in February and work to open the first of the three has taken a step forward after Cllrs approved £500,000 of City Deal investment from the Scottish Government.
The facility will open its doors on Cowie Main Street later this year, transforming what was previously a dilapidated shop unit in the village into a digitally-enabled space to help start-up companies plant roots and blossom in Stirling.
Help improve skills and access to work
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Demand for modern business space in the region is strong, particularly from the digital sector. In fact, the City Region’s creative and digital sector has more than doubled in size in the last five years, with jobs created at more than twice the rate across Scotland.
“That growth comes from investment - giving these businesses the support and tools to get off the ground - but the next step is to give them the technology, advice and space to grow and stay local. That’s where the true value comes from and that’s what the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal delivers.
“The Deal provides vital funding for projects like this and with future hubs set to open in Callander and Alloa, this money can help people across the region into work, improve their skills and access better opportunities to progress in life.”
The Regional Digital Hubs are one of the 14 core projects listed in the Stirling & Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. The Deal is a £90.2million shared investment from the UK Government and Scottish Governments, targeting innovation and infrastructure to drive inclusive economic growth.
In addition, regional partners including Stirling Council, Clackmannanshire Council and The University of Stirling will invest up to £123.8 million, resulting in a Deal worth in excess of £214 million.
The Scottish Government leads on the digital aspects of the Deal, with the initial £500,000 approved last week coming from a total £2million package of support for the hubs.
Modern and suitable spaces
Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “The Scottish Government has invested £500,000 in a regional digital hub in Cowie as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal to help create modern and suitable spaces for businesses and individuals in the digital sector and elsewhere.
“This investment to help start-up companies grow builds upon actions in the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which are creating a fairer, greener and more prosperous economy.”
The new infrastructure is a boost to ongoing local regeneration efforts in a part of Stirling that has recently moved into one the most relatively deprived categories of communities in Scotland. The Hub will also plug into the growing network of digital business support centres already in place across Stirling City, Aberfoyle, Balfron and Drymen, creating an interconnected digital district.
The hub and its associated activities will be supported by a wide range of partners, including Stirling Council, STEP and Codebase to initiate business activity through a tailored programme of support.