The Big Building in Groningen, a mixed use building housing roughly 70 start-ups, will definitively close its doors on 31 May. There will not be a successor for young companies in the Big Building to move to, either: the founders of the business space stated on Wednesday that they were not able to find a suitable replacement.
Since September 2015, the former PostNL building behind the station has served as a start-up incubator. It was known from the beginning that the building would be torn down on 1 June, 2018. Due to the impending demolition of the building, renting space for up-and-coming businesses was cheap.
The founders of The Big Building, Nick Stevens and Ralph Steenbergen, sought to find a more permanent location for the start-ups from the get go. Although it was a private initiative, the municipality also contributed to the search for a long term solution. Despite their combined efforts, no suitable location could be found, which means that roughly 600 employees will be rendered homeless. Several companies have already relocated elsewhere.
Big Building Academy
Although the physical building will disappear, the idea behind it will continue in the form of The Big Building Academy. “The goal of The Big Building was always bigger than a single building”, Nick Stevens explains. “We know that affordable office space is vital for entrepreneurs. That’s why we will be launching the Academy over the coming months. There is a lot of knowledge in the community at this point. I believe that every person has some unique knowledge that others could benefit from, and our objective is to share that knowledge with each other.”