Barnstaple Enterprise Hub 'Node' launches to support local businesses
- Credit: Jim Wileman
A new enterprise centre aiming to create jobs and boost the local economy in Barnstaple has been officially opened by Devon County Council Leader, councillor John Hart.
Known as Node, the coworking and office space was launched on Friday at an event attended by council leadership and funding partners, as well as a number of founding organisations and entrepreneurs who are already based at the space.
Node is the flagship development at Devon County Council’s Roundswell Enterprise Park and is part-funded by the county council, the European Regional Development Fund and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. Node will support SMEs, start-ups, freelancers and local workers in Barnstaple and the surrounding areas of North Devon and Torridge.
The modern building boasts 37 small and medium offices, a coworking space for up to 50 people, a number of meeting rooms and an on-site coffee shop. It aims to facilitate the changing way people work, by providing flexible workspace for individuals, right through to growing teams.
Devon County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Policy, Corporate and Asset Management, cllr John Hart spoke at the event held in the Centre’s Coworking space. Cllr Hart said: “The Node enterprise centre is an extremely impressive facility and it’s had an incredible start. Everyone involved must be congratulated for getting it up and running and for letting 64% of its office space after just eight months. That's already ahead of its two-year target and highlights the importance of this site to the county's economic recovery and growth.
“The building itself has also been designed and built to be energy efficient to help us with our carbon reduction targets, and it’s achieved a 25% reduction in carbon emissions compared to Building Regulations standards. The county council has shown its faith in this project by investing in a second phase expansion of the enterprise centre, which we're aiming to open by 2023. This will enable the centre to support even more SME's and start-ups in North Devon and Torridge as we look to build back an even stronger and more resilient local economy."
As well as attracting businesses to Torridge and North Devon, Node, through its operators Town Square Spaces Ltd (TownSq), will provide expert-led support to start-ups and potential high-growth businesses.
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TownSq, also run hubs in Wales, Oxfordshire, West Sussex, Cheshire and London. Its Community Director, Carl Turner, said Node was already making a name for itself in the area: “We really have hit the ground running in Barnstaple, and our office and coworking space are expected to be at 85% capacity by the summer. That’s thanks to the hard work of our community manager Julian and our partners at Devon County Council, but it’s also down to the genuine need for modern workspace in the area.
“As well as organisations looking to make use of smaller offices and flexible workspaces, there are also the freelancers and the self-employed who are looking for a place to start and grow their businesses. After all, it’s not just about where you work - we provide our members with a number of different support schemes, from access to investors and one-to-one mentorship, through to after-hours startup clubs.
“All the successful hubs, spaces and coworking areas across the world succeed when they build a community of like-minded individuals who, through collaboration and mutual support, grow their businesses together. That’s what Node will offer, and today was just the beginning.”
Karl Tucker, chair of Heart of the SW LEP, said: “The Node will provide a much-needed asset in northern Devon, offering quality office accommodation for smaller businesses along with collaborative and networking space and tailored business support. It’s fantastic to see the centre, which has been supported with over £2m from the LEP’s Growth Deal funding, fully open for business.”
To learn more about Node or to see how you could get support to run your business, you can visit www.thetownsquare.co.uk, or email email@example.com.