From early next year, start-ups will gain access to a fully spec’d co-working space in Oldham, Greater Manchester, as well as business support services such as connectivity services, mentoring, access to Wayra UK’s network and knowhow, training in entrepreneurship and business skills.
The best businesses have a shot at joining the full acceleration programme, where they could receive £34,000 as a direct cash investment.
Building work on the new facility started in September and is part of a £1m investment by Oldham Council to help businesses thrive in the town’s Independent Quarter.
The launch of Open Future_ North forms part of a wider strategy, led by Telefónica Open Future_ - to work alongside local and regional partners to reinvigorate entrepreneurial ecosystems, energise local economies and democratise entrepreneurship.
Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), said: “Oldham is hugely attractive for any entrepreneur looking to build a successful business in the Greater Manchester area.
“£100 million has been invested in infrastructure projects, with the town’s young and diverse population enjoying excellent education and skills development opportunities through four leading institutions; direct transport links to and from Manchester City Centre and passionate business leaders like Norman Stoller CBE investing millions more to support of the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“Combine that with the fact that you have nearly 3 million people 30 minutes away and you are really faced with an exciting opportunity.”
Jean Stretton, Leader of Oldham Council said: "Open Future_ North is a fantastic opportunity and we are hugely excited to be home to it in Oldham."
"I would encourage digital start-ups who want to progress their business ideas to apply and find out more. This hub will be a great space where entrepreneurs and creatives can get together to share ideas and a great environment that is going to offer all kinds of new possibilities to our grassroots business community.
"This is a real chance for local budding entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground and we cannot wait to welcome Wayra to the borough."