A new business enterprise centre opens its doors next month (November) to help start-ups and growth firms flourish.
Finishing touches are being put to BASE Bordon Innovation Centre following an 18-month refurbishment project undertaken by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
The centre is at the former Edwardian army officers’ mess at Broxhead House, Louisburg Barracks, Whitehill & Bordon, East Hampshire.
Transformed workspace is geared to entrepreneurs getting their commercial ideas off the ground, as well as small-to-medium sized enterprises and high-growth businesses.
There are 31 offices on flexible rental terms, along with co-working space, meeting rooms for hire, virtual offices and fast and reliable broadband.
There is also an exclusive business lounge area, in the largest and grandest original room in the house, for customers and visitors.
Virtual offices provide businesses with an address, a local landline number - with call and message handling - and access to meeting rooms for four hours per month.
Owned by the Homes and Communities Agency, the Innovation Centre has been significantly funded by a £4 million Local Growth Fund investment from Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Oxford Innovation, which runs 24 innovation centres across the country, including three others in south Hampshire, has been appointed operator.
The former military base at Bordon, upon which BASE stands, is being regenerated in a £50m mixed scheme, including hundreds of homes around BASE.
Stephen Brownlie, Oxford Innovation’s regional manager, said: “We have a new, energetic and inspirational workspace for East Hampshire which brings together innovators, entrepreneurs and collaborators in a growing and buzzing business community.
“Many start-ups, despite great commercial potential, fail for the want of expert support, coaching and guidance. Our on-site business support team will not only help, but open doors to funding, opportunities and networks that make a significant difference to business success.”
He added: “As well as established companies, the centre will appeal to home workers who have outgrown their attics, ‘gig economy’ workers with oscillating incomes and local commuters fed up with the cost and routine of travelling to London.
“The aim is to have a thriving hub of successful businesses, creating employment and internal investment in Whitehill & Bordon and the wider area.
“We have seen this positive economic effect at our other business-focused centres in south Hampshire – Ocean Village Innovation Centre in Southampton, Fareham Innovation Centre near Fareham and Portsmouth Technopole.”
BASE - on track to open in the second half of November - is located within the government-backed EZ³ Enterprise Zone and offers a range of benefits for eligible businesses.
They include up to 100% business rates discount, worth up to £275,000 over a five-year period, high-quality business support, expert support to help access the government’s R&D tax credit scheme and access to global markets through the Department for International Trade.
Three sites are within the enterprise zone - Whitehill & Bordon, Basing View and Longcross.
They are connected through the value of innovation, 5G communications, cyber security and sustainable technologies.
Louisburg Barracks, originally built at the turn of the 20th Century to house Field Artillery regiments, was vacated by the Ministry of Defence, with the majority of site being developed for residential housing.
Kevin Bourner, General Manager - South West for the HCA, said: “As owner of the site, the HCA has invested heavily to kick start the regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon.
“Getting BASE Bordon Innovation Centre open for business is a key milestone in delivering the new homes, jobs and skills that Whitehill & Bordon needs.
“It is really heartening to see an historic building re-purposed to provide a facility that will help the community grow and flourish, encouraging local businesses and creating jobs.”
Dr Mike Short, CBE, Chairman of Enterprise M3 LEP, said: "This stunning Innovation Centre sits at the heart of our Enterprise Zone, EZ³. Our £4m investment of Local Growth Fund is supporting companies to grow and is a further piece of the economic jigsaw bringing our total investment in Whitehill & Bordon to £28.7m.”
Councillor Ferris Cowper, East Hampshire District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Whitehill & Bordon, said: “Business is vital for the future of Whitehill & Bordon. In BASE, we now have an environment where innovators and entrepreneurs can flourish through collaboration and the support the Innovation Centre will provide.
“The centre provides a fantastic opportunity for any aspiring small or medium-sized business looking to grow into the next stage of its development.
“We promised the community that our 21st century town would respect and retain as many of its historical buildings as possible. The former sergeants’ mess in Broxhead House has always been an iconic local landmark and it is great that it has been given a new lease of life, bringing high-value jobs back into the heart of the area.
“Flanked by the impressive new Future Skills Centre and the TechForest business park which is under development, all located in the business-friendly Enterprise Zone, Whitehill & Bordon is emerging as the new economic power in the south east.”
Ron Wain, Managing DirectorDeep South Media
Local Growth Fund
Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.
That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.
Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.
If you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, please contact DCLG press office by emailing NewsDesk@communities.gsi.gov.uk in the first instance to request any additional information you might need.
Some additional key facts: