Northern Devon Enterprise Centre aims to boost economic recovery

Looking towards economic recovery with the gradual easing of lockdown, Devon County Council has launched its search for operators to run the Northern Devon Enterprise Centre, partly funded by £2.15m from the LEP’s Growth Deal.

The Enterprise Centre is being developed at Devon County Council’s Business Park  near Barnstaple, to provide high quality office and collaboration space.

The process to find an expert operator to run the centre and deliver business support  officially started on Monday 8 June with tenders invited via https://www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk/

The centre will provide tailored support for entrepreneurs, from start-ups to more established small and medium sized businesses that are looking to expand. It aims to boost the local economy and create jobs in Torridge and North Devon.

The centre will accommodate up to 35 high-growth, knowledge-based businesses including those from the digital, engineering, media, health, tech and environmental sectors.

Tenants at the Northern Devon Enterprise Centre will benefit from front of house service to look after day-to-day facilities management, enabling them to focus fully on their business. As well as flexible office spaces which can accommodate between one and 50 people, the centre will offer high speed connectivity, car parking, bicycle storage and a variety of spaces for formal and informal meetings.

In addition to £2.15m LEP Growth Deal funding, the project is being funded by £2,932,162 from the European Regional Development Fund and Devon County Council.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The North Devon Enterprise Centre is one of our Growth Deal projects that we’ve partly funded to stimulate growth in the local economy and create additional jobs. We invested £2.15million into this exciting new centre, which will provide flexible, modern office space for high-growth companies along with business support. As the Heart of the South West looks beyond the immediate impacts of the pandemic; entrepreneurs and start-ups have an important role to play in our Route Map to Recovery.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “The Enterprise Centre will be a vital asset for Northern Devon as our local economy looks to bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This striking image of the centre demonstrates what an impressive facility this will be when it’s up and running. It will certainly appeal to businesses as the right kind of location that will help them to grow and it will provide individually tailored support to assist entrepreneurs to achieve their aspirations. This scheme is a great example of how partners are working closely together to benefit our local economy and I’m sure everyone can’t wait for it to open. Launching the procurement for an operator illustrates the excellent progress being made on this project.”

Councillor Frank Biederman, Devon County Councillor for Fremington Rural, said: “It’s fantastic to see this project moving forward and the building now taking shape. This clearly is going to be such an important asset to support business start-ups here in Northern Devon. It looks like young people are going to find it toughest to get on the job market post Covid, so giving them the opportunity to be entrepreneurs and having the wrap around support is going to be a fantastic opportunity for those that are lucky enough to get a space; its timing could not be better. I wish to thank all our officers involved in the bidding, planning and design of this project.

The Enterprise Centre has been designed to complement the new Centre of Technology and Innovation Excellence at Petroc College.

Businesses interested in development plots at the site are invited to contact the Council’s property agents NPS South West, Diane Rider on 01392 351209 / Diane.Rider@nps.co.uk

For more information about the Enterprise Centre, contact Chris Bouchard 01392 351052 / chris.bouchard@nps.co.uk.