A former officers’ mess in the Hampshire home of the British Army has reopened as a business start-up hub.
The Aldershot Enterprise Centre at Mandora House will provide space, advice and training for both forces personnel and civilian entrepreneurs to launch and develop their own businesses.
The 8,000-sq-ft Victorian brick building is part of the old Mandora Barracks and has been converted into more than 30 offices after lying partly vacant for several years.
WSX Enterprise Chief Executive Peter Grant said: “This is a significant landmark for business support and self-employment in north Hampshire. The centre provides affordable, flexible and serviced office space. It will help military personnel, veterans, reservists and others to turn their business ideas into reality. As well as the physical space, we have experienced mentors and other business support experts on hand to help with advice and input.”
Enterprising Office, an Army-based charity, will run the centre day to day.
The office space includes weekly single-desk hire and a choice of rooms to rent monthly ranging from 142 sq ft for up to three people to 270 sq ft for up to six people. Onsite facilities include a canteen, high-speed internet access and free parking.
Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “The regeneration of the former officers’ mess is great news. We hope the new enterprise centre will see a long list of start-ups grow and prosper, so providing a catalyst for job creation. It will not only help those people from a military background who wish to develop fledgling businesses but others throughout the wider community too.”
The Aldershot Garrison was established in 1854 as a permanent training camp for the British Army and still plays host to many military units and organisations. The name Mandora commemorates Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Mandora in Egypt in 1801 during the Napoleonic Wars. The Mandora barracks, built in 1895, were demolished in 1970 with only the officers’ mess remaining. The mess, which is in Louise Margaret Road, was then used by the Royal Army Nursing Corps until 1995.
For more information and to enquire about office space at the new centre, ring 0800 30 77 008.