The Engine Shed, Bristol

The Bristol SETsquared Centre is at Temple Meads - attached to the UK's most connected transport hub, Bristol Temple Meads Station, at the centre of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, just a few minutes walk from the city centre and 20 minutes walk from the University of Bristol.

Research is at the heart of the University of Bristol's mission and is the reason behind its international reputation. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework results, thirty-six per cent of the University’s research received the top 4* rating defined by HEFCE as ‘world leading’. This is six per cent above the sector average and twice the level the University achieved in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008, placing Bristol 10th in the Russell Group.

In November 2015, SETsquared won the top accolade of Global Number 1 University Business Incubator, awarded by UBI Global. The Bristol SETsquared Centre has previously won the prestigious Established Business Incubator of the Year 2012 and Best Designed Business Incubator 2013 award from the industry trade body, UKBI.

The Bristol SETsquared Centre provides coaching, mentoring, workshops, business review panels, access to professional service firms and services, access to our global network, investor readiness training, investor showcase events, access to the new Bristol is Open experimental network, use of the Engine Shed Business Lounge, discounted access to Brunel's original board room as well as office space where required: unique, quality period and air-conditioned office space with desk-stations, reception services and meeting rooms all within the iconic, Grade I listed station that Brunel built in 1841.

The facility is on the top floor of the Engine Shed building and provides:

  • 10 shared desks in the pre-incubation space,
  • 17 dedicated offices - each with 2-14 desks,
  • 2 meeting rooms plus a dedicated training room.

Limited car parking is available in the adjacent Clock Tower Yard, at a cost for members, and there is ample secure cycle parking.

The Bristol centre is well established to support early-stage companies as well as later-stage companies of up to 10 people and corporate or university spinouts, who can benefit from our high quality support environment and University links.

In 2011, the Bristol Centre hosted a visit from HRH The Duke of York, who said: “I was very impressed by what SETsquared can provide new and aspiring businesses. It’s quite clear that it has a huge role to play for the local and national economy, supporting not just people linked to the University but anyone in the city who thinks they have a viable business idea.

See a video introduction to the Bristol Centre from the Centre Director.

One of the regular events we run is the SETsquared Garden Party and Innovation Showcase, where investors, corporates, grant-funders and potential non-exec directors get together to see the exciting technology businesses that we support. See a trailer or 8 minute video about that event.

The Bristol SETsquared Centre is now running Engine Shed - a collaboration between The University of Bristol and Bristol City Council. This project has started with a £1.7m refurbishment of Engine Shed, where SETsquared is now housed, (formerly the British & Empire Commonwealth Museum), which opened in November 2013. Engine Shed also houses the Invest in Bristol & Bath Growth Hub, a Business Lounge, a branch of the University of Bath's DigiCity co-working space, meeting rooms (including Brunel's original Board room), a public technology showcase and other significant tenants.

For more detailed information on the Bristol centre, including performance statistics, please click here.

Fact sheet


10 desks in shared pre-incubation space, 91 desks in cellular incubation space.

We can take in companies at any stage up to 10 people.

Physical Features

Highly connected location, adjacent to Bristol's Temple Meads station and a short walk or bus-ride to the University of Bristol's precinct.

Meeting rooms, reception facility, kitchens, broadband, wireless data and telecoms.

Support Features

Standard SETsquared business acceleration model for virtual, pre-incubation and incubation stage companies.

Part-time entrepreneur in eesidence, providing specialist, technology-focused sales and marketing advice and expertise.

20 Mentors attached to the centre, another 50 or so available across the other centres.

A wide variety of events, workshops and seminars are organised for members as well as investment readiness programmes and introductions across multiple networks.

Host University

University of Bristol -

Key Academic Research Themes

Wireless communications; computer science; cardiovascular science; neuroscience; nanoscience and quantum information; epidemiology; advanced composites; applied quantitative social science; ethnicity and migration.

Local sector features

The Bristol & Bath city-region has exceptional, world-class strengths in microelectronics, creative industries, embedded and application software, animation, natural history programming, financial services, aerospace and advanced engineering, hot-air ballooning, sub-sea engineering and low carbon industries.

Local marketing agency: Invest in Bristol & Bath

Local Amenities