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Engine Shed adds £8m to the Bristol and the West of England economy after 1 year of operation

A recently commissioned study has found that the Engine Shed, home to the Bristol SETsquared university business incubator and Invest Bristol and Bath, the West of England’s inward investment service, has already added £8m to the local economy after being in operation for just over a year.  The business hub, located in Brunel’s original Temple Meads station building, generated just over £7m of net GVA growth in its first year.  The refurbishment works prior to its opening in December 2013 – taking just 6 months – added a further £800,000 to this figure.

The study by Zeta Economics, a Bristol-based economics consultancy, found that the Engine Shed also supported the creation of 115 new jobs in the Bristol and West of England area since opening.  The project, brought forward in partnership by Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol, has also provided business accommodation for over 300 people since December 2013.  Businesses have used the Engine Shed have used it as a launch pad for growth, and several have since moved out and taken up larger premises in the city. (Note see case studies below).

SETsquared, which is resident in Engine Shed, already has impressive credentials, with the globally renowned University Business Incubator Index rating it the best of its kind in Europe and second best globally.  Zeta Economics’ study has also found its Bristol base to be one of the most efficient, incubating more companies per staff member than the European average.  SETsquared has supported 37 businesses whilst in its new home, and Engine Shed has accommodated 59, including 2 public sector organisations.

Nick Sturge, Director of the Engine Shed, commented:

“Here is clear evidence that Engine Shed is powering economic growth in Bristol and the West of England.  We have an efficient model here, and coupled with demand outstripping supply for space in the building, it gives us great confidence for the viability of plans to extend the concept by a further phase.”

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“I am delighted that Engine Shed has been such a success story for the enterprise zone and for the region. It is playing a key role in incubating, growing and attracting, new businesses in the high tech and low carbon clusters.  Well over 100 new jobs have been created since its opening, adding to the growing number of jobs in the region, and giving real momentum to Temple Meads’ regeneration.”

Colin Skellett, Chair of the LEP, said:

“Engine Shed has been one of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone’s biggest success stories and I am delighted that funding for Engine Shed 2 was earmarked during the latest growth deal announcement. The high tech & creative industries are two of the LEPs priority growth sectors, and this project will create much needed expansion and additional incubation space and enable these exciting businesses in the region to continue to thrive.”

The report has shown the location in particular makes it a great collaboration space for academics, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and business leaders to interact and 77% of companies have been influenced by this in their decision on where to have their meetings. One lounge member said “I’ve had several encounters…that could turn out to be useful investors or contacts. It’s usually because other people are meeting and then you get introduced or recognise someone from LinkedIn. Love the Business Lounge for this!”

Members of the Business Lounge include the four universities in Bristol and Bath, Bristol Media corporate members, Institute of Directors (IoD), Business West Initiative, Next Gen Skills Academy and its new collaboration with the RSA (The Royal Society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce) will see its Fellows having a base in the South West for the first time.

It’s anticipated that the new Enterprise Zone will create 17,000 new jobs in total and bring 400 new companies to the city over the next two decades – and Engine Shed is well on its way to contributing significantly to that.

Case studies


Muddy Boots, specialists in software for the food supply chain, has a head office in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. Talent around our rural office became harder to source, and we therefore came to Bristol to fill a skills gap in our technical department, primarily software developers and testers.

We initially took a 3 person office whilst still in Clifton, expanding this to 5 people when we made the move to the Engine Shed. We quickly filled this space with local talent, and in June last year moved across the road to TempleStudios to support the 10 (and increasing!) employees we now have in Bristol; demonstrating that this was the right decision for our Company.  Since we have been working in Bristol our business has increased turnover by 25% to just short of £4m, and we are set to continue with this level of growth.

Making the decision to work with SetSquared allowed us to mitigate a huge amount of risk in setting up our technical centre through lower costs and business support. An added benefit is that we also have access to a talent pool of people who had “been there done that”; they were happy to help us across a broad remit of areas, which has enabled us to strengthen the business and will continue to support our aspirations going forward.


ClusterHQ Inc started as Hybrid Logic Ltd, run by a few friends working over the Internet to create the next generation of web hosting services. Luke Marsden, in Bristol, joined SETsquared after working at a similar institution in Boston, and founded our first offices at SETsquared’s Woodland Road facility. Half a year later we secured our first round of VC funding, became HybridCluster and moved into SETsquared’s UGE offices as we expanded to open support and sales departments. The opening of the Engine Shed building was perfect for us, and while we were there our company grew to 14 staff and landed an enormous amount of funding to create ClusterHQ, and power the next generating of datacentre infrastructure. Without SETsquared we wouldn’t have had the support and knowledge to build a thriving Bristol software company, and we were very sad to leave them 2 months ago as we sought even bigger accommodation in Bristol’s Tech City.


Every photo you take with your digital camera contains hidden information about both the image and the camera such as the make, model and date. This information, called exif data, can also include a unique serial number which identifies your camera. Stolencamerafinder crawls the internet searching for photos, collecting the serial numbers of the cameras that took them. Please visit:

Neighbourly® is a social network that connects community projects with companies that want to make a difference.  On one side it provides sharing tools to help a project tell its story and get the whole community involved.  On the other side it provides search tools to help a company look for projects where they can make the greatest difference. An algorithm makes intelligent introductions, ensuring everybody wins. #nbrlyuk


Wriggle is a mobile-app that brings users on-the-day opportunities. All business, even the most successful, have unsold capacity, and Wriggle has created a mobile-app platform to allow these businesses to find buyers for this excess capacity at the last-moment. For users, Wriggle is a fun and spontaneous tool to find on-the-day

opportunities at high-quality local businesses. Wriggle is currently operating in the food & drink sector in Bristol, and is raising funds to expand both geographically and into other sectors. Wriggle is available on Apple Store & Google Play. Wriggle first came to Engine Shed through WebStart and kept its opportunity for support by becoming a virtual member of SETsquared.

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