Exmouth among towns considered for work hubs

PUBLISHED: 15:17 08 November 2010

Devon County Council picks Transform to assess demand for work hubs in five market and coastal towns

EXMOUTH is among five market and coastal towns across Devon whose potential as a work hub is being investigated by an organisation selected by Devon County Council.

Transform, based at Exeter University’s Innovation Centre, will assess market demand for hubs, alongside potential business models/delivery options in the towns of Exmouth, Axminster, Barnstaple, Newton Abbot and Totnes.

Work hubs are a growing concept across the UK, providing a range of support for start up and micro enterprise.

This can consist of business premises either in small scale units or renting desk space on a flexible basis, giving opportunities to meet and network with other like-minded businesses and access business support and training from a range of agencies.

DCC research shows Devon’s market and coastal towns have the right qualities to support work hubs, including high numbers of self-employed people, active business networks and the quality of life that can attract small businesses who wish to work flexibly.

Transform will work alongside four partners – Cosmic IT, PFA Research, Maze Property Solutions and Aren Grimshaw, social media consultant – to investigate whether these qualities will lead to demand for work space in the nominated towns.

Councillor Will Mumford, cabinet member for economic regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: “Transform’s work is part of our wider strategy to support the local economy, which includes our investment in projects such as Skypark and the Science Park.

“The county council is committed to promoting enterprise and developing a competitive economy. Supporting small businesses by providing access to professional workspace is an important element of this.”

DCC is investigating the feasibility of developing a network of managed work space facilities across Devon to ensure businesses get the facilities, help and support they need.

Nigel Tremlett, director of Transform, said: “We have put together a very strong local team to meet the requirements of the brief and are delighted to have been given the opportunity for them to use their skills to deliver this important contract for Devon County Council.

“We aim to build on our knowledge of the Devon economy and our close working relationship with the council to ensure that the study identifies the best managed workspace option for each market town.”

Transform and its partners will meet target groups, such as women entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, start-ups, those considering forming a business and local property agents.

Work will be carried out until January, with a final assessment outlining detailed options for delivery, being provided by March.

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