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Inside Manchester’s first banking and creative hub offering free co-working spaces, a media studio – and yoga!


When you think about going to the bank, normally you pray that it’ll be a fleeting visit. Get in, pay your bills, get out. That’s something that the UK’s first banking and creative hub is hoping to change.

B Works on Market Street is a digital banking service provided by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank with much more than just banking at its core.

The brand new, first of its kind space wants to break down the fears both individuals and businesses face when it comes to finances, offering an innovative environment where you can learn, work and bank.

On your way into B Works, grab yourself a coffee and some sweet treats, maybe head downstairs for a spot of yoga, book a co-working space for that important business meeting or head to the media studio for some first class training – and don’t pay a single penny.

This free-to-use creative hub wants you to make full use of its facilities and has a host of experts onboard to offer professional support.

Make the most of the communal working spaces, with bookable meeting rooms perfect for freelancers or start-ups – with hot desks, charging points, Wi-Fi, a movie screen and longer term co-working areas.

Learn all about content creation from the very best in the B Social Studio, where Social Chain, Europe’s largest social media and digital publishing house, will be on hand to help you develop an online presence.

Social Chain CEO Steve Bartlett told us that his multi-million pound business is the product of a co-working space. So when B Works asked him to come onboard, he jumped at the chance.

“We came to a co-working space in Manchester about three-and-a-half-years ago and because of the flexibility and shared resources, my business grew from two people to 270 people. I’ve always adored the model of co-working. I understand the benefits to it and I’m in debt to it in many respects.

“I couldn’t afford an accountant – this place give you financial advice for free. I couldn’t afford production equipment – here they give you that shared resource for free. I couldn’t afford a bloody kitchen – or a coffee machine and I definitely couldn’t afford to go to the best networking events. Here you have all of those things that are conducive of being a successful business, under one roof.

“Our role is to make sure the Social Studio is used properly. It’s all well and good having all the equipment, but if you have no idea what you’re doing it’s not going to be very useful.”

Visitors to B Works will also have full access to their partner programme – with the new venture welcoming online fashion giant Boohoo – which will provide a number of business led events as well as an in-store presence at the venue.

And the icing on the cake? Outside B Works directly facing onto Market Street is a huge digital board where all brands working from the co-working spaces can advertise – completely free of charge.

And because B Works believe that your wellbeing affects how you feel and the decisions that you make, they are offering complimentary fitness and yoga classes so that you can take some time out to work on your physical and mental health.

But let’s not forget about banking.

Sit back, relax and have a chat with the B Works staff offering financial advice and support on personal and business finances and mobile apps – and don’t worry about the usual jargon and old school way of managing your banking as B Works staff come from unique backgrounds but are fully trained to support all financial needs.

“The role of the bank is changing and the reality is that more customers are choosing to bank digitally,” says, B Work marketing director Helen Page.

“We need to continually reimagine what we offer to customers across our channels to ensure we remain relevant. Revolutionising our in-store experience for local people is a big step in achieving this.

“With our research finding 76% of people in the north west are worried about money and two fifths admitting the fear of money sets in before they reach the age of 25, we know that the nature of high street banking is changing.

“Our commitment to SMEs is well documented and we’re confident that by creating an informal space that encourages innovation, co-creation and supports growth for local consumers, entrepreneurs and SMEs, we’ll transform the way our customers interact with us.”

It all sounds a bit overwhelming, but having visited B Works we think it’s a really interesting concept and a great way to support small businesses.

And with the launch date set for January 14th, we recommend all small business owners and startups pay a visit to B Works to see how the space can help your business grow.

48 – 50 Market Street,  M1 1PW. Doors open to the public on 14th January 2019 at 9am.


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