The Bootstrap Fund

Bootstrap’s core business is providing workspace to a diverse mix of tenants, supporting them to start up and grow. From bakers and brewers in the Bootyard to film studios and charities; Bootstrap boasts an eclectic mix of tenants across the 3 buildings we manage.

The demand for property in London, both commercial and residential, is on the rise and pushing up prices across the city. In June 2016 Hackney Council reviewed the rent Bootstrap pays here on Ashwin Street.Reeves building

The gravity of this rental increase forced an abrupt change in business model for Bootstrap, with the only viable option to secure the organisation’s future being to shift tenant rents up to current market rates. This was a difficult decision that was born out of necessity and the need to survive in an environment where London’s commercial property prices continue to rise exponentially.

In response to the rent review, Bootstrap has changed it’s business model to commit 60% of our surplus to the ‘Bootstrap Fund’ – a subsidy pot that tenants are invited to apply for to reduce their rent based upon their social impact.

Applications for the Bootstrap Fund are based on the following criteria:

  • Community & Diversity – ensuring that Bootstrap, Dalston & Hackney are thriving and diverse communities
  • Training, Employability & Education – delivering projects & services that support marginalised groups to develop professionally or personally
  • Cultural Economy – contributing to the cultural economy with work of high quality and high public engagement, preferably in the local area
  • Poverty Reduction – creating jobs, supporting higher living standards and increasing social mobility

The first round of the Bootstrap Fund has funded 42 individual enterprises, sustaining 131 jobs and supporting 26,000 beneficiaries through the work of the supported tenants.

Sara Turnbull, Bootstrap CEO, says that ‘we are concerned that prices are increasing across London and this is seriously impacting social and creative organisations. Through the Bootstrap Fund we have been able to secure 141 jobs across our tenant body and we will work hard to increase the value of the fund to support our tenants and the local community.’

The Bootstrap Fund will hopefully go some way to tackling Hackney’s, and London’s, affordable workspace crisis. This flagship model is scalable and we’re working towards this being adopted by other workspaces across the city.

Bootstrap is working hard to boost the fund so that we can offer a subsidy to more tenants when applications open later in the year to start in April 2017.


Bootstrap Fund Tenants

Head to the ‘Our Tenants’ page on our website to see a list of all our tenants. Below are some quotes from those who we have funded.

The Refugee Women’s Association empower, advise and provide guidance to refugee women. Their Chief Executive Simin Azimi says that:

‘Bootstrap has supported us since we were founded at Bootstrap over 20 years ago. We were very grateful to receive the Bootstrap Fund that allows us to continue supporting vulnerable refugee women in the area. Without this subsidy we would not be able to operate’.

Everything is Okay, a film production studio based here at Bootstrap, says:

‘We are a young, fast-growing post production outfit employing several people from the area. Our expansion and the variety of work we do – on films, documentaries and content – would be much harder without the assistance we get from the Bootstrap Fund. It’s helped us get started and keep going through some testing times. And it allows us to do things like short films and arthouse stuff that otherwise would get lost in a rush to keep the lights on.’

Year Here is a postgraduate course in social innovation and Jordan Holland, their Programme Producer says:

‘The Bootstrap Fund has enabled us to remain in East London, closest to our partners and beneficiaries, in spite of ballooning property prices. We wouldn’t be in Dalston without it.’