UWE’s Future Space innovation hub opens for business
Future Space, the University of the West of England‘s (UWE) flagship enterprise and innovation facility, has officially opened within a new £16m University Enterprise Zone and is being managed by Oxford Innovation – the UK’s leading operator of business and innovation centres.
Providing a unique destination for science and technology companies, Future Space includes shared and co-working offices, an equipped lab, upgradeable workshops and dedicated offices. Occupants will also access support from business advisers to help their companies grow.
“We’ve been inundated with enquiries for what we believe will become the most exciting science and technology hub in the UK”
Since its opening, Future Space has made quite an impression, receiving enquiries from both national and international companies.
Elaine McKechnie, Future Space Director, tells us: “We’ve been inundated with enquiries for what we believe will become the most exciting science and technology hub in the UK.
First tenants: Elaine pictured with some of Future Space’s
newest tenants from Open Bionics and Reach Robotics
“Future Space will provide a home generating up to 450 jobs once the 70 spaces are filled. Access to the research community at UWE Bristol and beyond is a fundamental selling point that sets Future Space apart. It is not just about a big swanky well-appointed building, although I must say it is a beautiful, light, futuristic and inspirational place to work.
“It will be like a growing family of companies who spark off ideas and work together”
“Future Space is set up to foster collaboration between the creative science and technology businesses that decide to move here. Companies joining Future Space are buying into so much more than a workspace. It will be like a growing family of companies who spark off ideas and work together.”
As well as enquiries, Future Space has already welcomed several local companies with international reach – including Open Bionics, the creators of a personalisable 3D-printed robotic prosthetic and Reach Robotics, developers of custom-designed gaming robots.
“Future Space is a hub for energetic companies hungry for growth and success”
Both businesses originated from (and outgrew) the Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL), a collaborative university robotics incubator, which benefits from close proximity to Future Space allowing for easy collaboration between BRL academics and tenants.
Sammy Payne, co-founder of Open Bionics, says: “We’ve been incredibly lucky to have had the BRL support us throughout building our company. Joining Future Space was an obvious move for us, as we’re still closely connected to the lab and the successful robotics start-ups from the incubator. Future Space is a hub for energetic companies hungry for growth and success.
“Open Bionics has taken advantage of Future Space’s open offices to grow the team and set up a manufacturing and assembly unit.”
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Silas Adekunle, Managing Director of Reach Robotics, adds: “Future Space has allowed our company to all be in one fantastic space. It feels great to look up from my desk and see everyone working towards the same goal. The facilities are top-notch as well. I can’t wait until the cafe opens!”
“We have big ambitions and when looking at offices Future Space was the obvious choice”
The third company to join Future Space has also now moved in. Liz Davidson, of Esoterix Systems, says the firm is taking full advantage of the connections.
She adds: “Future Space at UWE combines the fresh, forward-looking environment we’re looking for with the ideal geographic location. We’re a technology start-up working in transport provision, a sector that grew 268% in 2015. We have big ambitions and when looking at offices Future Space was the obvious choice.”