A new shared workspace which puts early-stage businesses at the heart one of the East Midlands’ research hotspots has opened in Nottingham.
The co-working space at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP) is housed inside the Ingenuity Centre off Triumph Road.
The new space is for businesses not yet ready to rent their own offices but that would benefit from being in an attractive, stimulating environment where there are other people at a similar stage in their entrepreneurial journey.
The Ingenuity Centre’s co-working space has 20 desks, and though it has not yet been publicly announced it is already home to eight businesses.
UNIP represents one of the biggest concentrations of research, commercialisation, entrepreneurial coaching and business activity in the region. There are more than 100 businesses based on the site, which was once the home of Raleigh Bicycles – an icon of Nottingham’s industrial heritage.
Dr Mark Tock, Operations Director at UNIP, says the co-working space in the Ingenuity Centre represents the latest step in the University’s drive to support the community it is part of by encouraging business growth at all stages.
“The launch of our co-working space reflects two things,” he said. “Firstly, an increasing demand for co-working space, which is poorly served outside Nottingham city centre. Secondly, our ambition to grow our community by nurturing businesses before they need their own office space.”
In a nod to the site’s heritage, the Ingenuity Centre’s architectural shell resembles a bicycle tyre. Inside the building, the ground-floor atrium is surrounded by meeting space and offices, with more offices on the floors above.
“Typically, tech entrepreneurs or tech-based consultancies will benefit from being part of a wider community,” said Dr Tock.
“In this case, they are part of a real entrepreneurial hub which traces the journey from high-end research in fields like digital technologies, aerospace and engineering to the commercialisation of knowledge, student entrepreneurship and larger-scale businesses.
“So our co-working space ultimately offers the potential to connect and collaborate with a strong and well-stablished community which presents so many opportunities.”
Among the first wave of businesses to move into the Ingenuity Centre’s co-working space is BeamCalculations.co.uk, a specialist structural engineering consultancy run by Kevin Taylor. It provides web-based structural engineering calculations and reports for the building industry, aiming to deliver fast, accurate reports at lower cost.
“I’ve gone on the typical small business journey, working from home or trying a number of other co-working spaces,” Kevin said. “What I’ve found is that there are simply too many distractions at home when you have a young family, while the other spaces I’ve looked at have been either too out of the way or involve commuting into a city.
“For me, Ingenuity has a real start-up vibe to it. There are other software-based businesses here, which gives opportunities for cross-pollination, and being on an innovation park like this means I’ve got access to several different cafes and a great campus environment.”
The launch of the co-working space at the Ingenuity Building comes as UNIP prepares to mark its 10th anniversary.