Construction has started on Tameside College's new innovation and business incubation centre at Ask Developments' St Petersfield scheme in Ashton-under-Lyne.
When complete, the 10,000 sq ft facility will complete the 400,000 sq ft St Petersfield masterplan of offices, residential, retail and leisure.
Designed by Aedas Architects, the facility will cover three floors and will provide an enterprise laboratory, incubation space and a small cafe with an outdoor seating area. The café will be open to local businesses and the general public as well as staff and clients.
Work began with a ground breaking ceremony on site, with members of the college, Ask Developments and Create Construction all present. Work is due to finish in August.
John Hughes, director at Ask Developments, said: "Tameside College's innovation and incubation centre is a valuable addition to St Petersfield. In difficult economic conditions, it will provide budding entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to take the next step with their business. It will also ensure that new and existing companies are retained within Tameside rather than choosing to relocate elsewhere."
Peter Ryder, principal at Tameside College, added: "Through our partnership with Tameside Council and the North West Development Agency, we are on the verge of creating a catalyst for economic change in the borough. The centre will provide a unique range of services for aspiring entrepreneurs and local businesses. I'm looking forward to welcoming our first generation of tenants".
The St Petersfield scheme is being delivered through a public and private sector partnership, with £14.5m of North West Development Agency, Homes & Communities Agency and European Regional Development Fund money already committed to the 13-acre site.