Procurement organisation launches funding arm for SMEs

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.”

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  1. I have been in general contracting and run a Chartered Building Company for a number of years.

    I am interested in moving to help with the chronic housing shortage and in particular affordable housing the country currently faces.

    Despite continually reading that SMEs played a big role in housing supply in the past (40% 15yrs ago now down to 5%) and need to be encouraged and supported in order to rise again to that level; I have found it very difficult to get guidance.

    I have attended a number of big events including one organised by Homes England in May of this year but when following up on conversations get little or no response. With the entry into MMC & Offsite industry of names such as Goldman Sachs, the Reuben brothers, Sekisui, Berkeley etc there appears to be a gold rush mentality developing, with it a danger that SMEs may be swept aside which is disheartening when there are so many opportunities.

    I would welcome some guidance from Pagabo.

    Yours sincerely.
    Richard Coles. MCIOB.

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