FORMER council offices are now being used as a launch pad for hi-tech space companies in Glasgow.

The Tontine Building in Trongate has celebrated its first anniversary of new firms moving in and the operators have declared the first year a success.

It has been turned into an incubation space for new small and medium size businesses to help them grow and move out into other premises.

The Tontine is also a partner with the Scottish Space Incubator supported by a UK Space Agency grant supporting six firms for a year.

The centre helps new businesses in the technology, design and manufacturing sectors have an office space with all the facilities they need.

It targets high growth potential businesses who will expand quickly then move out when they are ready, allowing new firms to move in and grow.

It has been funded with City Deal cash and is already at 90% capacity after its first year.

Susan Aitken, Glasgow City Council Leader, took a tour of the building and met with new and growing businesses at the facility.

She said: “I am delighted by the ongoing success of The Tontine, creating high-quality jobs and growth in these key sectors of Glasgow’s current and future economy.

“The performance in the first year is even better than expected, showing how effective this type of supportive environment for growing businesses is.

“The Tontine is undoubtedly a great success story for the Glasgow City Region City Deal, and is poised to play a key role in the city’s economic growth over the next four years.”

One firm that has followed the model and expanded is Incremental Group which has grown from three staff to more than 50 employees.

Neil Logan, Chief Executive, said: “When we first arrived a year ago we were three people with a vision to build a different type of digital services company. “

“Today we employ almost 50 people across two sites with more than a dozen based here at Tontine. Tontine has provided us with a first class office in the heart of the Merchant City that has flexed to meet our requirements every step of the way.”

The council hopes that by 2021 there will be 134 businesses supported at the Tontine and each will be expected to grow by at least four staff.

If targets are met it would mean 536 new jobs and an increase in turnover of more than £50m.

The building where the Tontine is now at one time housed the workshop of steam engine pioneer James Watt.

More recently is was home to various Glasgow City Council departments before it was vacant and it was decided to renovate it into the new small business incubation space.