Chance for start-ups to move into UK’s first 360-degree video dome

A Plymouth social enterprise is offering to sponsor 10 innovative new businesses and could even see them moving into the UK’s first 360-degree video dome building.

The Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) is launching Start Something for “the hustlers, the foodies, artsy folks and everyone in between”, in other words groundbreaking start-ups or scale-ups, with a “free membership package” worth more than £3,000.

RIO said the support would be ideal for “students, graduates, current or former colleagues, friends, family or business contacts”.

It is staging a webinar, between 1pm and 3pm, on Wednesday, August 19, where interested enterprises can find out more and ask questions. A recording will be available for those which can’t make the live event, but applications need to be received by September 1 at 9am.

Work has started on the immersive dome extension at Devonport Market Hall
Devonport Guildhall, home of RIO
(Image: Penny Cross)

The business incubator programme will also allow use of RIO’s facilities – which could include creative making space at Plymouth’s Ocean Studios, the bread ovens, food prep area and commercial kitchen at Devonport Guildhall, and the social enterprise’s co-work space across buildings in Plymouth, Liskeard and Newquay.

It could also see sponsored ventures using the Immersive Dome at the Market Hall, in Devonport, Plymouth. This is the £7.4million tech centre, currently still under construction.

RIO is transforming the 166-year-old former market building into a centre for the latest tech businesses and research and is building an extension which will house a 15m diameter dome for immersive, virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) experiences.

A RIO spokesperson said: “We’re looking to sponsor 10 businesses with a support package from Real Ideas worth at least £3,000 each to help people grow their own enterprise as we come out of lockdown and into a time of economic uncertainty.

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“If you’ve got a side hustle or pet project idea you’d like to turn into something more, Real Ideas can help. We’re looking to sponsor 10 start-ups or scale ups.”

RIO, which successfully renovated the Devonport Guildhall, has been working on plans for the derelict Market Hall building since 2013 with a vision to create 3,000sq ft of co-work space, along with the immersive dome which will allow audiences to watch live sport, cultural events such as dance and music, and nature films in a video screen which totally surrounds them.

In September 2019 the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government announced that £2,810,638 of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) capital funding and £201,318 of revenue funding would complete the finance for the scheme.

The ERDF funding was in addition to £1million from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, £488,000 from the Unlocking Growth Fund courtesy of the Heart of The South West LEP, £2.5million from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and £403,000 from Plymouth City Council.

Details of Start Something can be found here and to register for the webinar details are here

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