Barclays announces third Eagle Lab in Scotland to drive entrepreneurship across Ayrshire
PRA Group’s UK operations commit to 15 years in Kilmarnock community
The HALO Urban Regeneration Company has announced PRA Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRAA), a global leader in the nonperforming loan industry, as the anchor tenant of Kilmarnock’s HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre (HEIC), bringing career opportunities and a 15-year commitment to the town.
The US-based PRA Group employs 300 people across three locations in Kilmarnock, all of whom will move into two floors at the low carbon development within the 23-acre HALO Digital and Cyber Innovation Park. The company’s investment in Kilmarnock is further reflected in its charitable giving to organisations such as Ayrshire Hospice, Break the Silence, North Ayrshire Foodbank, the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) and South Ayrshire Foodbank. PRA Group’s new UK operational hub will enable the company to create additional jobs and deepen community partnerships while also prioritising energy efficiency and enduring sustainability.
The HEIC sets the standard for low carbon energy sites by building a sustainable community powered by renewable energy, making it one of the most environmentally friendly developments in the UK. The HEIC also optimises the workplace environment to promote the health and well-being of employees, which was essential to PRA Group’s search for a new home.
One of the largest employers in Kilmarnock, the Nasdaq-listed PRA Group acquires and collects nonperforming loans, returning capital to banks and other creditors to help expand financial services for consumers worldwide.
“PRA Group was founded on doing things the right way for the long-term, so environmental sustainability is an enormous priority as we make decisions that will impact the future of our company and communities where we live and work. When the opportunity arose to change office space in the UK, we looked for a way to put that vision into practice,” said Tim Kirk, Country Operations Director of PRA Group UK Ltd. “We saw in The HALO an incredible opportunity to make progress sustainably while cultivating the enduring success of our workforce, strengthening the vitality of the Kilmarnock community and fostering a strong local economy.”
With HEIC, The HALO is creating an industry-leading cyber and digital training and learning facility that will pioneer the Fourth Industrial Revolution. PRA Group will work in partnership with The HALO to test its state-of-the-art digital, data and cyber training and learning facilities while also enhancing its employees’ cyber and digital skills.
“The HALO is proud to have a long-term partner who values the quality of workforce Kilmarnock and Ayrshire can provide. We look forward to working with PRA Group to build on its presence in the town and to offer its team professional development with the digital and cyber skills that our partnerships uniquely enable The HALO to provide,” said Dr Marie Macklin CBE, founder and executive chair of The HALO Urban Regeneration Company.
“HALO Kilmarnock is a fantastic regeneration project that is bringing new skills, investment, and jobs to the region. I am glad more businesses are moving in, bringing further high-quality employment to the area.
“The UK Government is supporting HALO Kilmarnock with £3.5 million as part of its £103 million Ayrshire Growth Deal investment, helping communities to build back better from the pandemic,” said Iain Stewart, UK Government Minister for Scotland.
“I’m very pleased to see this progress in the Ayrshire Growth Deal, with PRA Group taking on a tenancy at the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre, further underlining their commitment to the local area.
“In a period of economic uncertainty and challenge, delivery of the Ayrshire Growth Deal is more important than ever, with the projects re-invigorating the regional economy.
“The Scottish Government is committing £103 million to the Deal, which will help drive future growth and prosperity and unlock investment,” said Ivan McKee, the Scottish Government’s Enterprise Minister.
With the support of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, the HEIC will be an industry-leading cyber and digital training and learning facility that will pioneer the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Securing PRA as an anchor tenant is a huge step forward for HALO and great news for the local community. Scottish Enterprise strongly supports the HALO Project and its ambitions to promote and support sustainable entrepreneurship, innovation and growth,” said Adrian Gillespie, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “This is tremendous news for Kilmarnock and East Ayrshire. HALO is the first of our Ayrshire Growth Deal projects to come to fruition and I’m delighted that one of our well established local businesses, the PRA Group, is set to become the anchor tenant of these outstanding facilities.
“PRA has created many new jobs and employment opportunities for local people and their move into the new HALO facility will ensure that they continue to have a successful future in East Ayrshire.”
In addition to the landmark deal with PRA Group, The HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre has just released a range of packages designed to support innovative, growing businesses on the facility’s 15,500 square foot trading floor, where scale-ups, SMEs and newcos will create employment through digital and cyber technologies built around health, energy and enterprise.
The HALO Digital and Cyber Innovation Park includes:
- The HALO Enterprise & Innovation Centre a 50,000 sq ft low – a carbon BREEAM Excellent rated building .
- 210 innovative smart homes of the future fuelled by 100 per cent renewable energy and digital healthcare monitoring systems
- 40 Low carbon Live Work Units for entrepreneurs
- The HALO #Rockme Green Economy Cyber Research & Training Centre
- Light Manufacturing Low Carbon Zone
- Urban Eco Sports Park
- Children’s Innovation & Learning Hub
- VR Education & Gaming Hub
- Wave Surf Leisure & energy monitoring centre
- Digital High Street
- HALO low carbon EV transport hub.