Enterprise M3 LEP held a digital workshop in January to evaluate the Future Workspace Pilot Programme, created as part of our Revive and Renew recovery action plan.
Simon Ward of economic impact and market analysis firm, Propernomics, presented an evaluation of the work, as well as an analysis of the commercial property sector in the EM3 area. A key finding showed local authorities saw the LEP’s funding as “Critical for the council members” and that this gave them confidence to proceed with the private sector.
The pilot programme has seen the creation of two shared workspaces – Incuhive in Andover and Login Business Lounge in Camberley - with a total investment from EM3 LEP of over £400,000.
Login Business Lounge in Camberley is one of the first two sites to open and over 20 delegates joined the workshop to hear about the progress and journey so far.
Owner, Steve Coburn, told the group how his business, Project Five, had collaborated with local partners to create the co-working space in a former retail unit. The space also boasts meeting rooms, an event space and, uniquely, a wine bar for after-hours entertaining. From the start, Steve also set out to ensure the new space would meet sustainability and ethical business standards.
“We’re delighted by the success of the two sites which have opened to date. It’s helpful to see how impactful the LEP’s involvement is in programmes such as this, which re-vitalise town centres and give the public and private sectors confidence to continue investment.
We look forward to seeing further projects open in the near future.”
Whilst our assessment work is still ongoing the consensus from workshop attendees was that hybrid working is here to stay and the LEP has a key role in this, particularly in bringing partners together and providing some funding support. In particular the LEP can add value in being a catalyst and partner that isn't competing with the market.
The full evaluation is due to complete in March 2022 with a report published shortly afterwards.
The Future Workspaces Pilot Programme was born out of EM3’s Revive and Renew Recovery Action Plan, designed to renew town centres and attract businesses to the high street. More information can be found here.
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