A groundbreaking multi million pound initiative that will put Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire on the international ‘enterprise’ map is just a few days away from getting started, with the potential for creating 1000 jobs once completed and occupied.
The Rural Regeneration Zone (RRZ) has joined forces with Evans Easyspace, a leading provider of small business units, to pioneer the roll-out of a strategic network of enterprise centres that will deliver a state-of-the-art collection of small, flexible offices and workshops for entrepreneurs and SMEs.
Backed by £5.9m of funding from the RRZ through Advantage West Midlands, the programme is both innovative and unique and will meet the growing need for high quality premises for the indigenous business base.
Peter Pawsey, Chairman of the RRZ, was delighted to see this initiative come to fruition:
“This is fantastic news for the area, as it will allow us to build on recent achievements and the growing desire for businesses to develop and grow across the sub-region.”
He continued: “In total, there will be two main hub sites at Battlefield in Shrewsbury and at Rotherwas in Hereford, with a further six spoke sites planned for Bridgnorth, Leominster, Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry and Ross-on-Wye.
“This equates to over 150,000 sq ft of office and workshop space across the Zone and this should prove ‘home’ for 120 companies in all sectors of interest imaginable, from manufacturing and e-business to research and development.
“Early estimates suggest that once these facilities are fully occupied this will create 1000 jobs, with more employment opportunities due to be created during the construction of the different facilities. In addition, as these new companies grow, some will move on to their own premises and others will be created in the space vacated, generating even more jobs in the process.
The £1.5m Leominster Centre is the first spoke to be built, with work due to start in the middle of August, followed closely by Shrewsbury, Hereford and Ludlow on the 3rd September, 24th September and 15th October respectively.
This means that by early 2008, half of the network will be reaching completion with dates set to be announced shortly for the remaining developments.
Peter added: “Another key feature is the public/private sector partnership that is at the heart of the project and we are delighted that our local authority partners are fully behind it and that Evans Easyspace is bringing its undoubted knowledge and experience of the sector to the fore.
“We are both committed to the long-term vision that will provide the highest quality enterprise space for businesses seeking to operate in the Zone and to ensure that this provision is right on their doorstep.
He continued: “This flexible workspace will help small companies and business people make the transition from home to office, which will ensure that firms will have better access to knowledge and mutual support from the likes of Business Link West Midlands, the Learning and Skills Council and other public service partner organisations.”
Each of the Centres have been purpose designed and will be fitted with the latest IT provision, separate meeting rooms and ample car parking, something you rarely get in urban areas.
There will be an on-site manager to deal with everyday issues and administration and businesses can also benefit from hot desks and access to the industry-leading ‘easy-in, easy-out’ terms.
These offer a minimum two month notice period and allow occupiers to make decisions in the interests of the company without the burden of long leases and financial overheads – essential to the area’s enterprise culture.
Tom Stokes, Managing Director at Evans Easyspace, picked up the story:
“We have a proven track record in delivering similar types of accommodation and have worked extremely closely with the Rural Regeneration Zone to identify the need and then develop an appropriate offer.
“This is by far the biggest project we have worked on to date and are extremely excited at the prospect of boosting the regional economy through the growth and creation of new businesses in the area.”
He concluded: “For me, the most striking message to come out of this is the ‘network’ concept. We want people to benefit from being surrounded by like-minded business people, who they can share ideas with, inter-trade or even join forces with. It’s about creating a culture more than just a building.”
The Rural Regeneration Zone works to bring together partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors to develop and implement a programme of economic regeneration that delivers sustainable change for those who live and/or work in area.
At its recent Conference, it was announced that over £13.3m had been invested into Shropshire, Herefordshire and parts of Worcestershire, with 410 new jobs created, 228 safeguarded and 61 companies formed.
For further information, please contact Ray Flynn on 01584 813770 or email rayflynn[.]advantagewm.co.uk