A brand new hub for businesses working in creative and digital industries was officially opened at a launch event in Northampton’s Cultural Quarter last night.
Vulcan Works, which was created through transforming a Grade II listed former ironworks factory in the town, is the result of a £14 million project funded by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), who facilitated a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6.3 million, together with £3.06 million from the European Regional Development Fund.
The brand new, purpose built hub is managed by Oxford Innovation Space and provides lettable office space, workshops, meeting rooms and coworking spaces for start-up businesses in creative and digital industries. The space mixes the old with the new by retaining some quirky original features and naming its rooms in honour of its shoe-making history.
Following the completion of the extensive redevelopment, the centre opened its books and doors to interested businesses in February, generating a lot of interest from start-up and growing businesses in the creative and digital sector, with 12 businesses taking up office space and others taking advantage of the hot desking and co-working options. The team has also received 180 enquiries for further information.
Now, as businesses are starting to move in and a team has been appointed to run the centre, Vulcan Works hosted a launch event which saw special guests network over cocktails, take tours of the building and hear speeches from key partners involved in the construction of the centre. Some of the new tenants also held stands at the event as part of a Customer Business Showcase.
Centre manager Garrick Hurter said: “We have been so busy getting Vulcan Works up and running and facilitating show arounds to prospective customers over the last few weeks and months, so it is wonderful to see all that hard work come to fruition and officially launch this fantastic space to the public. We want to build a real community here and a space that is supportive and nurturing to young and growing businesses in creative industries and today is the start of that.”
Jo Stevens, managing director of Oxford Innovation Space added: “The Vulcan Works project has been an absolute pleasure to work on and to see the centre officially launch gives all of us at Oxford Innovation Space an enormous sense of pride and achievement.
“This centre is more than just flexible office and workshop space. It is a place with both a rich heritage and brand-new facilities that have been purposely and thoughtfully constructed to provide young companies with a place to grow and feel supported and part of a community. Now that the centre has officially launched, our newly appointed team can get to work offering business support services and holding events that will help our tenants to grow, learn, make new connections and thrive.”
Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth at WNC, said: “Vulcan Works provides a unique offer for West Northants creative and digital industries. The rejuvenated historical hub combines flexible office space, with first-class support to help businesses flourish. With a wealth of knowledge, the team provide on-hand advice, training, and workshops to help businesses expand. It was great to have the opportunity to speak to many businesses who are already calling this space home and meet to those who are due to move in over the forthcoming weeks. I look forward to seeing the hub and its tenants from strength to strength.”
It is estimated that Vulcan Works will support around 150 start-up businesses in its first 10 years, creating around 500 jobs in the area. The centre has also pledged to work with local contractors and agencies, ploughing more money back into the local economy.
To find out more about Vulcan Works or request a show around, email firstname.lastname@example.org.