Science and hi-tech businesses have been locating at the Bristol & Bath Science Park much faster than predicted, with three quarters of the available desks snapped up in less than six months.
Fourteen different businesses and organisations, such as research-led early stage companies and businesses offering sector-specific support are now occupying 78 of the first 103 desks on the ground floor of the first building, the Innovation Centre. Plans are now being finalised to fit out the top floor.
Occupants include Science City Bristol, life sciences company Apitope, scientific consultancy Formumetrics, patent law specialists BPE Solicitors LLP and fund manager YFM Equity Partners. Companies are being attracted by the high quality facilities with the space they need to grow on flexible terms and the opportunities for networking and collaboration with like-minded businesses.
As well as serviced office space, high bandwidth, excellent communications and conference facilities, occupants have the use of The Forum, a striking glass-fronted communal area available for networking and food and refreshments, which is also open to the public.
Bonnie Dean, Chief Executive at the Bristol & Bath Science Park said:
“We are very encouraged by the rapid take-up of space in the Innovation Centre and by the collaborative community that is developing between the companies. We opened in very tough economic conditions but already revenue is twice what was predicted for this stage.”
“Our first tenants represent exactly the mix we are working to achieve, balancing scientific research and academia with professional services and investment opportunities. We are receiving enquiries for a range of larger offices and mixed workspace which we are evaluating for fit-out on the remaining floor in the Innovation Centre.”
Later this month, Ministers from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will host the national Manufacturing Summit at the Science Park, demonstrating its growing reputation as a centre of excellence. The facility has also been short-listed for two prestigious BCO (British Council of Offices) Awards.
An initial survey of tenants has shown a unanimously positive response in terms of the environment, facilities and networking opportunities. Formumetrics is a scientific consultancy which is in the process of designing a lab at the Bristol & Bath Science Park. The team is already operating from the Innovation Centre, which Keith Bean, managing director, says is proving a great success:
“We recognise the value for a small company of being in an innovative environment. The building has definitely exceeded our expectations, being light and airy, with a great atmosphere. We have already been in contact with other small businesses that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to collaborate with in the past.”
Jon Hoare, a partner at Clearwater IT Services LLP, which moved to the Science Park in September 2011 added:
“We knew it would be a high profile development with green credentials but not to the extent that it actually is. It has a great feel and atmosphere with a strong sense of community. We have already experienced some networking opportunities and for us, it is really beneficial from a business point of view to use the communal space.”
Related link: Bristol and Bath Science Park (The Post)