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Allia opens new Guildhall centre as innovation hub for enterprises in centre of Cambridge





Allia’s new Future Business Centre at Cambridge Guildhall was officially opened this week.

Orca Scan have moved their offices into the new office space provided by Allia Business Centres in the Guildhall in Cambridge – and the entire team showed up for the occasion. Picture: Keith Heppell
Orca Scan have moved their offices into the new office space provided by Allia Business Centres in the Guildhall in Cambridge – and the entire team showed up for the occasion. Picture: Keith Heppell

The non-profit organisation is leasing the building from Cambridge City Council in order to let workspace to start-ups, charities and enterprises. This creates a city centre innovation business community, with a dedicated reception, a range of private offices, a co-working suite and five meeting rooms available for external hire.

The mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Mark Ashton cut the ribbon on Tuesday (October 11) and, together with the mayoress, Barbara Ashton and other Cambridge City Council representatives, they toured the ground floor which forms the new impact business hub, to meet Allia staff and the new tenants proud to move into their new workspace in the iconic building.

Allia has taken on the ground floor of The Guildhall as an additional Future Business Centre space for growing and supporting the social enterprise scene in Cambridge. As yet it is not very public facing – just office tenants so far – though there are some yet-to-be-let spaces which could become thriving arts/exhibition/community event spaces.

Allia open their new premises in The Guildhall, with the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Mark Ashton, cutting the ribbon alongside David Broach, director, Allia Future Business Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
Allia open their new premises in The Guildhall, with the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Mark Ashton, cutting the ribbon alongside David Broach, director, Allia Future Business Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

Current Guildhall tenants include Cofarm, Orca Scan and the Cambridge Centre for the Integration of Science, Technology and Culture.

Speaking after the event, Orca Scan founder and CEO, John Doherty, said: “The ribbon cutting event was good, it was great to meet some of the Allia team and members of city council.”

Orca Scan has taken two rooms at front of building looking out over the market.

“We have five team members to start with at Guildhall,” John adds. “We started the company in Cambridge so the idea of being in the middle of the city was attractive, plus we have an international team so we’re right in the beating heart of a European technology capital, it’s a great place for us to be.”

The Guildhall in the market square, Cambridge, opened in 1939. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Guildhall in the market square, Cambridge, opened in 1939. Picture: Keith Heppell

Orca Scan now has 250k users for its bar code scanning technology, which is tracking 93m items a month. A new medical company based on Cambridge Science Park has recently been added to the mix – more on that in these pages soon.

Urban community food supplier CoFarm is also one of the hubs’ inaugural members. Gavin Shelton, founder and CEO of CoFarm Foundation, said: “We’re really excited to be among the first tenants to move into the new Allia Future Business Centre in The Guildhall. We’ve loved being part of the Allia family at the Future Business Centre in Kings Hedge’s, surrounded by other charities, social enterprises and impact entrepreneurs.

Gavin Shelton, founder and CEO, at CoFarm near the Barnwell Road. Picture: Sam Mellish
Gavin Shelton, founder and CEO, at CoFarm near the Barnwell Road. Picture: Sam Mellish

“Our move into the heart of the city will help us to become more visible as we start to scale up the CoFarm model and as we start to roll out our subscription model in the run up to Christmas. Our new office looks out onto Cambridge’s wonderful and vibrant marketplace and this will present plenty of opportunities for us to increase our visibility.

“It is also just a great place to come to work and we’re really looking forward to welcoming our volunteers and visitors to this iconic building. We couldn’t be happier to be here.”

David Broach, director of Future Business Centres, said: “We feel privileged to transform such an iconic building into one of our award-winning hubs for small local businesses and enterprises.”



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