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Bristol showcases local business innovation to the Deputy Prime Minister

Bristol showcases local business innovation to the Deputy Prime Minister

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, took part in a whistle-stop tour of some of Bristol’s innovative and growing businesses this morning, when he visited Engine Shed to announce a further £18.1m funding through the Growth Deal for the West of England LEP.

The announcement included announcing funding for a significant expansion of Engine Shed, as well as two other key projects in the West of England. Initial plans for Engine Shed 2 could triple the amount of incubation and grow-on space currently available for high-tech, social, creative and digital businesses, in the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

A tour of Engine Shed (phase 1), Bristol’s newest innovation hub – a £1.7 million refurbishment of Brunel’s original train station, completed in 2013, and a unique collaboration between the University of Bristol, WE LEP and Bristol City Council – followed the announcement.

Nick Sturge, director of Engine Shed and the Bristol SETsquared Centre, introduced Nick Clegg to nine fast growing, highly successful SETsquared businesses: Neighbourly, Fusion processing, Systems4Silicon, BluWireless technology, Ultrahaptics, Kubla, FundSurfer, CameraForensics and IdeaSquares.

Bristol Elected Mayor George Ferguson and WE LEP vice chairs, Robert Sinclair and Cllr Paul Crossley met with the DPM to talk through the plans for LEP.

Colin Skellett, WE LEP chair, said: “We are pleased to have been given the flexibility to decide on the precise funding for each of the three projects that the government have approved in this second round of funding. We also have a pipeline of schemes that we will continue to press with government should more funding become available.”

Nick Sturge, director of Engine Shed and SETsquared, said: “We were pleased to welcome Nick Clegg back to SETsquared and to see our new home, Engine Shed. We now look forward to working with the LEP, Bristol City Council and Government to deliver further growth, through Engine Shed 2, in the Bristol & Bath area. We will deliver this as soon as possible to meet the demand for innovative, flexible and curated space. Bristol & Bath really is THE most exciting place to be right now.”

Image from left to right shows:  Karen Drake (Operations Manager, Engine Shed), Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP, Nick Sturge (Director Engine Shed & Bristol SETsquared) and Lorraine Fairbanks (Engine Shed Venue Manager)

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SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey