Brunel’s iconic Engine Shed is set to become a focal point for Bristol’s drive to generate inward investment and encourage a new generation of high growth businesses.
A partnership agreement was signed at a symbolic ceremony attended by George Ferguson, Bristol Mayor and Professor Eric Thomas, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol, on Monday 11th March.
Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol are investing £1.5 million to refurbish the Grade 1 listed Engine Shed. A planning application has just been submitted that, subject to approval, will provide the headquarters for Invest in Bristol and Bath, accommodating representatives from the four West of England Unitary Authority areas, and act as a ‘shopfront’ for potential investors in the region. It will also become the local base for UK Trade & Investment.
The building will be managed by Bristol SETsquared – the University of Bristol’s double award-winning business incubator – who will take the majority of the space to provide premium serviced offices for its high growth, technology businesses. Around 20 companies will move in here with a further 40 businesses using the business centre’s resources and facilities including hot desks, breakout spaces and meeting rooms. In total, there will be space for 120 people.
Core to The Engine Shed will be a business lounge and co-working and collaboration spaces for academics, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and business leaders.
George Ferguson said: “What better springboard for our plans for the Enterprise Zone than the launch of this important project. It is very good to see this serious, solid progress on the ground.
“Now we need to get out and tell Europe and the rest of the world that Bristol’s open for business.”
Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol said: “Bristol is repeatedly recognised as having significantly high potential for economic growth and the intellectual capital provided by world-renowned research and the activities of some of the country’s highest performing students go a long way to supporting this. I am very pleased that the University, as part of the SETsquared partnership, will be among the first present at the Enterprise Zone.”