As one of the largest networks of business incubator spaces in the UK, with locations spread all over the country, the aim of Eagle Labs is to complement local ecosystems and support entrepreneurs and startups to innovate and grow. This mission began in 2015, when Barclays was inspired by MIT’s Fab Lab which provides open-source access to tools and equipment, and transformed its underutilised space in Cambridge into the first Eagle Lab.
Today, the incubator spaces are used by a range of individuals, investors, businesses and corporates, helping to interconnect the entrepreneurial ecosystems of local areas. The main focus of Eagle Labs, however, remains to support early-stage startups. It does this by offering a range of resources, including coworking and office space, opportunities for skill learning, mentoring from business experts, workshops and networking events, access to emerging technologies and business incubation for high-growth businesses.
The journey since 2015 has shown that collaboration and community are of paramount importance. Eagle Labs focuses on businesses who want to work together, enjoy peer networks and contribute to a community. The running of Eagle Labs and its continual expansion has been fuelled through partnerships with organisations such as universities, councils, private incubators and other corporate clients. These partners share the same agenda of job creation, skill development, investment and local economic growth.
By working together on Eagle Labs, Barclays and its partners can maximise the resources and capabilities of the incubator spaces available to its users.
In addition to its successive opening of incubator spaces in new locations, growth programmes and industry milestones are key to Eagle Labs’ history. In 2019, Eagle Labs launched the Global Connect Programme to connect founders to international markets and the Funding Readiness Programme to help early-stage founders identify and access different funding types. Then, in 2020, Eagle Labs aimed to improve diversity in entrepreneurship with the Female Founder programme and the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator. Eagle Labs has also given particular attention in recent years to emerging technology sectors that can achieve positive disruption in the UK, including LawTech, HealthTech, AgriTech, EnergyTech and CyberTech. This includes the creation of a dedicated LawTech hub in 2018 and the launch of a HealthTech vertical and a Medicine Accelerator in 2019.
In 2021, Eagle Labs remains committed to the levelling up campaign by continuing to provide incubator space and resources all over the UK for very early-stage businesses with high potential for growth. Eagle Labs hopes to expand the network by working with more councils and universities that are also committed to regional ecosystem development and accessing central funds that make building and running more spaces possible.