A group of entrepreneurs and businesspeople at a meeting in Bristol's Engine ShedThe Engine Shed was officially opened almost a year ago, on 2 December 2013. Housing 20 SETsquared companies, as well as providing a further 44 businesses with hot desks, meeting rooms and breakout spaces, the Engine Shed can now celebrate raising over £34m in one year.

SETsquared members employed 639 people when they first moved to the Engine Shed – that number has now risen to 752, and according to SETsquared, “experts predict it will generate 5,000 high-value jobs in the next 15 years in the high-tech, creative and low carbon sectors.”

The Engine Shed has also housed internet incubator WebStart since early 2014. Since its launch, WebStart has provided 20 startup companies with £300,000 of initial investment, bolstered by intensive mentoring and practical assistance.

“Engine Shed is a flexible, inspiring space for tech businesses, offering a perfect environment within which to grow and work collaboratively”

 

WebStart founder Mike Jackson saw many of these companies raise further funding from outside sources, currently totalling £794,000. The 39 founders of WebStart-funded companies have also added 18 new staff to their workforce. Webstart’s efforts have seen interest from ministers, investors attending the two Silicon Gorge events held this year and even the Duke of York.

Praising the Engine Shed, head of inward investment at Invest Bristol & Bath Matthew Cross said: “Engine Shed is a flexible, inspiring space for businesses in the high-tech, creative and digital, and low carbon sectors, offering a perfect environment within which to grow and work collaboratively.

A group of entrepreneurs and businesspeople at a meeting in Bristol's Engine ShedThe junction room: a place for startups to pitch – beer not included

“The success of this incubator has been a key factor in helping Invest Bristol & Bath to create more than 1,200 jobs in the region since its inception. The hub has housed major inward investment successes such as Somo, the world’s largest independent mobile solutions company, and leading online takeaway service Just Eat on their arrival in Bristol.”

Snowballing success

A study released today indicates that the Engine Shed will continue having a positive impact on the local and national economy well into the future.

The study, commissioned by Warwick Economics & Development (W-ECD), estimates that startups incubated by SETsquared will have contributed an estimated £11 billion in GVA (Gross Value Added) to the UK economy by 2025. Data for the study has been extrapolated from the 1,041 companies that have already benefited from SETsquared services in their formative years, and excludes any further economic impact from companies that SETsquared is set to incubate in the future.

“We’re looking towards the future now and are dedicated to providing the opportunities and resources to continue growth for the next 10 years”

 

W-ECD’s study also reveals that companies incubated by SETsquared have created 9,000 jobs since 2002, and that this number is estimated in increase to 14,200 by 2025. Expanding outwards from the Bristol and Bath area, SETsquared have plans to open a new incubation centre in Basingstoke.

Located in the Engine Shed, Centre Director for Bristol SETsquared Nick Sturge said: “This economic impact study shows the profound effect that companies incubated by SETsquared have had on the region’s economy.

“We’re looking towards the future now and are dedicated to providing the opportunities and resources to continue growth for the next 10 years. Today is the 1st anniversary of the opening of our new home, Engine Shed, which itself has generated significant growth locally.”

There’s never been a better time to work in the South West – why not check out the Engine Shed website to see what they can offer you? For updates, follow the team on Twitter @EngineShed_BB@SETsquared_Br and @WebStartBristol.

Josh Ryall