Devon County Council has been recognised for its help for small businesses due to its Work Hubs across the county.
The council was awarded ‘best provision of small business offices for upscale and growing businesses’ award at the recent Federation of Small Businesses Awards.
Barnstaple Work Hub is one example, after opening in July 2014.
Amelia Isaac, of the Design Shop, also runs Barnstaple’s Work Hub. She said: “The hubs are providing work spaces with meeting rooms for the day, but added to that is the enormous benefit that workers experience in meeting, chatting and swapping ideas with other business people working from the hub.
“There’s nothing better than seeing a new business come to us and within a few years they’re moving on as they require larger premises and take on more employees.
“And they make room for another worker coming in and we see that person’s business grow too. It’s good to have played a part in that growth.”
Ewemove Barnstaple is a hybrid estate agency that sells and manages properties across North Devon.
Ewemove’s Branch Director, Russell Burrington, said: “Having started the business working from home in our spare bedroom, moving to Barnstaple Work Hub just over 12 months ago has allowed my business to flourish and I am now at the stage where I am looking to expand my workforce and upsize my office space.
“Not only has it given my company a more professional look but I have made some excellent connections here and it is a vibrant and busy place to work in.”
Around 20 per cent of Devon’s workers are based at home, with many people working from spare rooms or home offices.
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, DCC’s cabinet member for economy and skills, said: “Often the initial move into office accommodation is difficult because they cannot afford to be tied down to a long-term contract, but Devon Work Hubs offer an attractive solution.
“Run by local business people, they provide inexpensive, flexible term office space, equipped with facilities that modern businesses need to grow, network and collaborate alongside like-minded people.
“Our existing hubs are seeing plenty of start-up businesses, who come to them with just a handful of staff, outgrow the work hub accommodation as they take on more employees and require larger work premises, which is excellent.
“This success means we are now working on expanding the network and recently invited organisations to bid for capital grants of up to £20,000 to support the creation of work hubs in new locations across Devon.
“I am pleased that this award recognises our commitment to supporting small businesses and encouraging them to grow and prosper in Devon.”