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Yeovil Innovation Centre prepares to Open for Business
Oxford Innovation is managing the Centre


Yeovil’s new multi-million pound Innovation Centre is soon to open for business following a momentous key handover to the project’s partners. Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading operator of innovation centres, is managing the Centre.

Local builders, ROK, presented representatives from South Somerset District Council, the South West RDA and Somerset County Council with the keys to the Centre this week, marking the end of work to convert the former Bonsoir Factory on Copse Road into a state-of-the-art facility.

Businesses in the renewable energy, engineering, IT, research and design sectors have been steadily expressing interest in taking space and the Centre is currently on track to meet its target for occupancy in the first year.

Cllr Tim Carroll, Leader of South Somerset District Council, explained: “Yeovil Innovation Centre is designed to provide affordable and flexible office space for fledgling or entrepreneurial businesses. Essentially, it’s a nurturing environment where new high tech businesses can grow, develop and thrive, building their contacts and customers, and eventually reaching the position where they can move out into the local area and prosper.

“This is tremendous news, not just for South Somerset District Council and its partners, but for local businesses looking to take the next steps, and for the local economy, which will soon benefit from additional employment opportunities.”

Rob Walker, Regional Director at Oxford Innovation, said: “We are delighted to be managing Yeovil Innovation Centre and I look forward to welcoming innovative businesses into the Centre and helping them to flourish. Working with the Council and regional stakeholders, we aim to develop a flagship centre that sets new standards as a hub for innovative businesses in the south west region.

“We are very pleased with the high level of interest the Centre is attracting – one company has already signed up to move in to the building in early November and we expect to have further companies signing up to take space over the next month.”

The first company to sign up for space in Yeovil Innovation Centre is Biostoves Ltd, who distributes a new and innovative range of stoves which run on bio-ethanol. As no chimney is required there are zero installation costs, providing 100% heat efficiency and a carbon neutral heat source.

Ryan Jean, Managing Director of Biostoves, said: “We are looking forward to moving into Yeovil Innovation Centre. The combination of high quality office space with very flexible letting terms in a straightforward licence agreement made the decision to take space extremely easy. As an early stage business, we did not want to get tied into a long term lease. We are also looking forward to benefiting from the business support services provided by Oxford Innovation and to being part of a community of start-up and growing companies as more businesses move into the building.”

Cllr Alvin Horsfall, Somerset County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “Through our £750,000 investment in the Yeovil Innovation Centre, Somerset County Council is providing entrepreneurs and local businesses with the foundations they need to grow and contribute to South Somerset’s economy.”

Alastair Godfrey, Professional Services Manager at the South West RDA, which is the Centre’s major funder, said: “Our role is to unlock the business potential of the region and one of the ways that we do this is by encouraging and nurturing new and innovative enterprise. By providing an environment where businesses have access to skills, advice and business support, the Centre will help these companies survive, succeed and be competitive.”

Andy Foyne, Project Manager at South Somerset District Council, commented on the team work and architecture involved in the project. He added: “I want to draw attention to the excellent team spirit and effort from all organisations, both public and private, involved. I am particularly pleased with the final design provided by Stride Treglown, the consultant architect, and the effective way in which Rok worked to deliver it.

“All who enter the building cannot fail to be impressed by the state of the overwhelming modernity and the facilities on offer in what was once a pyjama factory.”

Steve Bradley, Rok Yeovil’s Area Leader added: “Rok is delighted to have worked in collaboration with all parties to provide an innovative facility for new businesses in Yeovil. We wish every business that uses the Centre great success.”

More information on Yeovil Innovation Centre, including how to register interest in office space, is available at www.southsomerset.gov.uk/yeovilinnovationcentre or from South Somerset District Council’s Economic Development Team on 01935 462462 or from Oxford Innovation’s Marketing Team on 01235 838555.

- ENDS -
Editors Notes
Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, PR Director.
Tel: +44 (0)1865 811199 Email: m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Photo available on request
Getting ready for business at Yeovil Innovation Centre.

Front row: Scott Roy (Chairman of the Yeovil Innovation Strategy Board), Rob Walker (Regional Director, Oxford Innovation), Cllr Tim Carroll (Leader of South Somerset District Council) and Howard Marshall (ROK Contracts Manager).

Back row: L-R: David Miles (Consulting Architect for Stride Treglown), Cllr Sam Crabb (Somerset County Council ward member for the Ilchester Division) and Alasdair Godfrey (Professional Services Manager for the South West RDA).

About the Yeovil Innovation Centre project
South Somerset District Council, the South West RDA and Somerset County Council are working in partnership to address the deficiency of support, networking and suitable accommodation in Yeovil with a view to enhancing the ‘knowledge’ market.
Following the purchase of the former Bonsoir of London site in Copse Road, Yeovil, Somerset, the partners appointed architects Stride Treglown to develop conceptual ideas for the future of the site as an incubation and innovation centre. Yeovil based builders Rok managed the reconstruction and refurbishment of the building.

The £5 million project is funded by the South West RDA (£2.91million), South Somerset District Council (£1.20 million) and Somerset County Council (£750,000) who have worked together to purchase and redevelop the site for the benefit of the area’s economy.

The creation of a business innovation centre for South Somerset centred on the established high-tech sector at Yeovil will enable the vision for the development of knowledge-based industries in South Somerset. The incubation centre will foster business start up and innovation, and support the county and district’s economic goals of developing companies that create high value jobs.

The South West RDA leads the development of a sustainable economy, investing to unlock the region’s business potential. It works in partnership with public and private sector organisations and takes a long term view. It aims to drive up the region's productivity by giving people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving infrastructure, regenerating places and promoting the strengths of the region. For more information: www.southwestrda.org.uk

About Oxford Innovation
Oxford Innovation provides services to growing companies, and to government bodies that promote enterprise. The company operates 14 Innovation Centres, in addition to Yeovil Innovation Centre, that provide flexible office and laboratory space to over 350 technology, knowledge-based and creative companies.

Oxford Innovation also manages three highly successful Investment Networks that link investors with entrepreneurs seeking funding from £20,000 to £2 million. During the last five years, the investment networks have helped over 90 companies raise £19.5m. For more information: www.oxin.co.uk

Oxford Innovation’s sister firm, SQW Consulting, is a leading economic development and management consultancy whose clients include government departments in the UK and overseas, regional development agencies, funding bodies, local authorities, partnerships and international organisations. For more information: www.sqw.co.uk

About Biostoves
For more information on Biostoves visit: www.innocentearth.co.uk


Publisher Contact Information:

Oxford Innovation
+ 44 (0)1865 811199
m.henry@oxin.co.uk

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