Procurement organisation launches funding arm for SMEs

17 November 2019

Pagabo, the national framework organisation, is launching a new initiative to invest in and guide SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs, offering them the support, advice and a platform to take their ventures to the next level.

A strong focus will be given to helping fledgling companies adapt to modern methods of construction, including artificial intelligence and robotics.

The new arm – named Incubator – will be an early stage investor in start-ups or young companies that want to innovate and help shape the future of the construction industry.

The initiative will look to provide financial resources, in the form of equity or soft loans, into these businesses. It will also act as a means of accessing Pagabo’s ecosystem (clients, contractors and wider stakeholders), which will provide support, mentoring and resources. This real-world “sandpit” will help the businesses to trial their ideas, products and services.

Gerard Toplass (pictured above), executive chairman of Pagabo, who heads up the Incubator initiative, said: “We are looking for companies that share our own values on progressing the future of the construction industry and that are conscious of the environment and the community. The future leaders of our industries are simply not happy to ‘work the way we always have’ when there are better, more efficient ways of working.

“We want to help the sector do things better but also help it to do better things. We may need more bricklayers and hands-on, physical skills today, but we need to consider the skillset people will need in the future when automation, artificial intelligence and robotics are more widely adopted by the industry.

Toplass added that in the next 10 years there would be a huge shift in the construction industry, due to innovation and technology aligned to the changing requirements of the people working in the industry. “The attitude to work is quite different to 10 or 20 years ago, and there is a growing social conscience among younger professionals, along with a drive towards agile working with multi-disciplinary teams,” he said.

“We have to consider changing ethics and work together to create a more sustainable future supported by renewable, green energy. We must consider changing attitudes and behaviours, looking after both the physical and mental health of our workforce.”