Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership has awarded £155,000 towards a plan to help nurture new businesses and create new jobs in Aldershot.
Leading business support provider WSX Enterprise will use the money to further develop the Aldershot Enterprise Centre, which aims to support the ongoing economic growth of the local community and give new entrepreneurs a base for their business.
The funding will speed up development of the centre, refurbishing additional office and meeting space and updating the communications infrastructure, including superfast internet and modern telephony system.
Peter Grant, Chief Executive of WSX Enterprise, was very pleased to see how the funding will improve the former officers’ mess and benefit the local community in North Hampshire.
‘’We have already seen there is a strong market in Aldershot for cost-effective premises to start a new business venture, and with space starting at £35 a week, demand has been consistent from both the military community and other local communities,” he said.
“It is not just the price which is attractive. The building is a unique historic setting and tenants can also benefit from extensive, freely-available training and support for their businesses.”
Aldershot Enterprise Centre opened at Mandora House, just five miles from the town centre, in April 2014. Since then 30 new businesses have started, helping to create 50 new jobs. The funds will go towards developing further the adjacent wing of the building, St Anne’s House, which was opened six months ago.
Geoff French, Enterprise M3’s chairman, added that Aldershot was one the LEP’s priority areas:
“Aldershot is one of the five step-up towns we have identified within our LEP area and it is growing fast. It is important to ensure that budding entrepreneurs have access to affordable office space when starting their business – Aldershot Enterprise Centre supports this aim.
“WSX Enterprise has been involved in similar projects previously and we are confident that with the additional funding from Enterprise M3 they will be able to meet the growing demand for start-up office space by expanding and upgrading the Aldershot Enterprise Centre.”
WSX Enterprise asked tenants and other local businesses what they would like to see at the centre to assist their businesses. Modern training facilities were high on the list, as it was felt that options were limited in the area for small businesses.
As a result new training and meeting rooms will be set up at Aldershot Enterprise Centre, incorporating the latest technology to enable businesses to network and interact. All public rooms and areas will have secure wireless connectivity, creating an environment suitable for any start-up.
Entry to the building itself will be greatly improved, with upgraded wheelchair access to the building.
The centre focuses on providing affordable office space with effective wrap-around support, enabling resident businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive and grow. Office space is provided on “easy in, easy out” terms, making it low risk to the tenants.
Studies show that new businesses are more likely to succeed if they receive expert advice and support. At Aldershot Enterprise Centre mentoring is available to new tenants at no extra cost. The centre also offers a variety of programmes that help new businesses succeed.