New report shows value of Engine Shed innovation hub to Bristol’s economy

March 27, 2015

Bristol’s Engine Shed innovation hub has added £8m to the local economy after being in operation for just over a year, according to a new study.

The centre, which is home to the Bristol SETsquared university business incubator and Invest Bristol and Bath, the West of England’s inward investment service, generated just over £7m of net GVA (gross value added) growth in its first year.

The refurbishment works of part of Brunel’s original Temple Meads station building prior to Engine Shed’s opening in December 2013 – taking just six months – contributed a further £800,000.

The study by Zeta Economics, the Bristol-based economics consultancy, found that Engine Shed has also helped create 115 jobs in Bristol and West of England area.

The project, a partnership between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol, has also provided business accommodation for more than 300 people since December 2013.

As a result, it has become a launch pad for growth and innovation with several of its fledgling firms moving to larger premises in the city.

SETsquared already had impressive credentials before the latest report, with the globally renowned University Business Incubator Index rating it the best of its kind in Europe and second best globally.  Zeta Economics’ study has also found its Bristol base to be one of the most efficient, incubating more companies per staff member than the European average.

SETsquared has supported 37 businesses while at Engine Shed and has accommodated 59, including two public sector organisations.

Engine Shed director Nick Sturge said: “Here is clear evidence that Engine Shed is powering economic growth in Bristol and the West of England.

“We have an efficient model here, and coupled with demand outstripping supply for space in the building, it gives us great confidence for the viability of plans to extend the concept by a further phase.”

Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson added: “I am delighted that Engine Shed has been such a success story for the enterprise zone and for the region. It is playing a key role in incubating, growing and attracting, new businesses in the hi-tech and low carbon clusters.

“Well over 100 new jobs have been created since its opening, adding to the growing number of jobs in the region, and giving real momentum to Temple Meads’ regeneration.”

Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LPE) Colin Skellett, said: “Engine Shed has been one of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone’s biggest success stories and I am delighted that funding for Engine Shed 2 was earmarked during the latest growth deal announcement. The hi-tech & creative industries are two of the LEP’s priority growth sectors, and this project will create much-needed expansion and additional incubation space and enable these exciting businesses in the region to continue to thrive.”

The report has shown the location in particular makes it a great collaboration space for academics, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and business leaders to interact and 77% of companies have been influenced by this in their decision on where to have their meetings.

One lounge member said “I’ve had several encounters…that could turn out to be useful investors or contacts. It’s usually because other people are meeting and then you get introduced or recognise someone from LinkedIn. Love the Business Lounge for this!”

Members of the Business Lounge include the four universities in Bristol and Bath, Bristol Media corporate members, Institute of Directors (IoD), Business West Initiative, Next Gen Skills Academy and its new collaboration with the RSA (The Royal Society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce) will see its Fellows having a base in the South West for the first time.

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