Barclays is withdrawing from the Eagle Lab project at Queen Victoria House in Douglas, which was set up to support business innovation and entrepreneurship.

The bank launched the Lab – offering a range of resources including co-working space, mentoring, training workshops and private office space for businesses – in 2018, in partnership with the Department for Enterprise and the Chamber of Commerce, expanding the bank’s network of Eagle Labs already operating in the UK.

Barclays is only withdrawing from the Isle of Man facility, and would not clarify whether it was financial cost-cutting or some other reason that drove the decision.

‘We have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the Douglas Eagle Lab in the Isle of Man,’ said a spokesperson for the bank.

‘The site will continue to be supported by the Isle of Man’s Department for Enterprise and Chamber of Commerce so local businesses will still be able to access support on-site as the building remains open.

‘While Eagle Labs will no longer be based in the physical premises, we’re committed to supporting the Isle of Man’s ecosystem and helping to grow their businesses.

‘Eagle Labs will continue to offer members virtual support to access services and expertise remotely, to connect to mentors, specialists and the broader Eagle Labs community. We will work closely with our members to limit any disruption.’

The Lab was hailed as ‘a much-needed business service’ when it opened, providing local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with access to low-cost space and access to like-minded individuals, seen as helpful for early stage, growth and accelerator businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce said the Lab has provided a unique space to support innovation, entrepreneurship and promote collaboration for both existing, new and relocating businesses.

‘While Barclays have taken the decision to step back from the day-to-day operation of the Lab, the chamber is delighted to be able to confirm that arrangements have been made for the space to continue to be available to existing and new members,’ said a spokesperson.

‘Physis Ltd, who already operate the QVH shared office and co-working spaces across the upper floors of Queen Victoria House, will take over the operation of the ground-floor facilities, rebranded as QVHclub.

‘The transition will be seamless and there will be no interruption to access to the facility, ensuring that the collaborative space currently provided in the lab will be maintained.

‘Members will also be able to benefit from expanded access to the broader range of facilities provided throughout Queen Victoria House, further enhancing the potential for co-working and collaboration.’

Barclays involvement with the facility ends on August 31.