Thrive takes the next step for local start-ups

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[CAPTION] Thrive members (l to r) April, Genevieve and Lucy outside the new space. Rotherhithe resident Lucy sells her crafty creations on Etsy  

As the first new buildings begin to reach full height, people living and working in Canada Water are seeing the development take shape.  

But establishing London’s first new town centre in 50 years isn’t just about the construction: we want to help to grow a vibrant local economy where businesses based in the area can serve the needs of the people who live around them. We're creating a place where businesses of all types and sizes sit side by side, with jobs at all levels, and where independent operators help forge the new town centre. 

In 2017 business enterprise charity Tree Shepherd and British Land partnered to set up Thrive, an affordable workspace that offers local startups a place to grow while paying significantly cheaper rents, as well as access to free expert training and mentoring. Thrive currently supports and provides networking and other services for 31 member businesses, ranging from filmmakers to beauty therapists to counsellors, with many having already moved into their own premises.  

After six years, Thrive has now moved into a new, larger space next to Tesco in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre which 12 of its member businesses use as their base. This prime location, just a short walk from Surrey Quays Overground station, gives Thrive the platform it needs to continue its work in supporting traders from the area. 

Sandra Ferguson, CEO at Tree Shepherd, says: “We’re excited to have moved to a busier space frequented by more people. This puts the independent businesses we support right in the heart of the action at Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. The new location offers them a base where they can develop and grow to make sure they remain vital parts of the local economy and community.” 


Strongman’s Tipple’s space to expand 

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[CAPTION] Lukas has a new space in which to grow his business  

As Thrive starts life in its new space, one of the businesses it has nurtured over the last few years is making the most of its new home.  

Innovative drinks company Strongman’s Tipple is masterminded by Tomas Lenko and his business partner Lukas Etus. With 20+ years of experience in the beverages industry between them, the award-winning duo advise bars and restaurants and run cocktail events for luxury brands across the UK. They also produce their own line of pre-mixed bottled cocktails in their ‘lab’ at Thrive. Thrive has been an “absolute godsend” in helping the business grow, says Tomas, with the access to professional advice and support making it “a wonderful incubator space”.  

Strongman’s Tipple is now set up in spacious new premises at Thrive’s new location, in the former Carphone Warehouse in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. This provides the opportunity for greater product development and warehousing that Tomas and Lukas need to expand their business. 

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