28 January 2014

Style and substance: Bristol's new high-tech engine room

This week I was lucky enough to visit the Engine Shed, the new hub for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and academics next to Bristol Temple Meads station which launched last month.

It's a fantastic space.  The Business Lounge blends Brunel's historic original design, including cast iron columns, with contemporary, train carriage-style "innovation pods", modern glass-fronted office space, exposed ventilation ducts, ├╝ber-hip lighting, a plentiful supply of coffee and even some astroturf.

There's a suite of meeting rooms, a theatre-style seminar space and Digicity hotdesking facilities that can be rented by the day, with access to superfast broadband.

Among the current tenants at the Engine Shed are the Bristol SETsquared Centre, the university accelerator; an incubator, WebStart; Invest in Bristol & Bath, the new dedicated investment service established to attract investment to the region; and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.  

The director of both the Bristol SETsquared Centre and the Engine Shed is Nick Sturge.  Drawing inspiration from similar hubs in London and as far afield as San Francisco, Nick plans for the Shed to become a melting-pot of innovation, engendering a culture of collaboration between academics from the SETsquared partner universities and entrepreneurs from the incubators, showcasing the high tech achievements and potential of the region and attracting inward investment. 

It's a compelling vision and a fantastic new business facility for the city.  If you haven't done already, go take a look.

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