City of Wolverhampton Council has announced it will be launching a new business and enterprise hub to inspire start-ups, growth and support people into employment and training.

IGNITE (Innovate, Grow, Navigate, Ideas, Technology, Entrepreneurship) will be located in ground floor units 3 and 4 of the Council’s i10 office and retail complex at the heart of the city centre’s £150million award-winning transport Interchange.

The news comes after the Council’s Cabinet Resources Panel on Wednesday approved funding for the fit-out costs for the hub.

IGNITE is expected to open in spring 2022 and will be run in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton and Black Country Chamber of Commerce to join up the business support infrastructure in the city.

It will provide free co-working and meeting space, events, training - virtual and physical - and support to inspire start-ups and business growth.

City residents will be welcomed into the hub to get advice and guidance on training and employment opportunities and utilise the free workspace. It will also support the Council’s £3million Wolves at Work 18-24 programme to tackle youth unemployment in Wolverhampton.

Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “With 97% of businesses in the city employing less than 50 people and following the end of the furlough scheme recently, the full impact of the pandemic is still to be seen. 

“The need for more joined up business support is critical and by working with partners to establish a business and enterprise hub in the city, the council can maximise the reach and impact.

“We initially submitted an application to the Community Renewal Fund for Government funding to support local business growth but this was unsuccessful. This has meant the council stepping in to accelerate the delivery of the IGNITE hub, which we view as a priority to support our businesses and residents.”

IGNITE will place an emphasis on improving digital skills and online acceleration and growth, utilising 5G and cyber enabled opportunities. Training in website development, selling online, social media, online marketing, cyber security, international sales and managing teams remotely will all be on offer.