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The background:

Located on the third floor of the iconic Broadstone Mill, Stockport Business and Innovation Centre (SBIC) is in a former cotton mill, providing 24,000ft2 of lettable office space and a selection of meeting rooms and communal spaces. Oxford Innovation took over the management of SBIC in September 2013 on behalf of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. The centre originally opened in 2005 and was managed by Evans Easy Space, but having fallen into disrepair, and with customer service levels dropping, the Council appointed Oxford Innovation to inject a new lease of life.

The background:

Located on the third floor of the iconic Broadstone Mill, Stockport Business and Innovation Centre (SBIC) is in a former cotton mill, providing 24,000ft2 of lettable office space and a selection of meeting rooms and communal spaces. Oxford Innovation took over the management of SBIC in September 2013 on behalf of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. The centre originally opened in 2005 and was managed by Evans Easy Space, but having fallen into disrepair, and with customer service levels dropping, the Council appointed Oxford Innovation to inject a new lease of life.

We were initially appointed as the preferred supplier by the Council in March 2012, having submitted a tender that identified a significant revenue funding requirement. As a result, over the following 12 months we worked in partnership with the Council, at no cost, to secure an ERDF grant to provide revenue funding for 2.5 years.

We relaunched the centre in November 2013. During the mobilisation period we developed a 2-year operational plan (including all of the centre’s policies and procedures) and agreed KPIs based on the ERDF funding targets and the Council’s wider economic and enterprise objectives. We also undertook a refurbishment and improvement programme that included a rebrand, the introduction of a Business Lounge (The Engine House), general facilities improvement and an upgraded internet provision.

Following the improvement programme, a relentless focus on delivering a quality customer experience, expanding the offering to include business support, and repositioning SBIC as a hub of innovation and collaboration activity, the Centre has seen the following outputs:

  • 31% increase in average monthly licence fees from £16 per square foot to £21 per square foot
  • Increase in revenue per square foot (licence fee + additional services) from £21 per square foot to £27 per square foot
  • Increase in average occupancy from 41% to 94%
  • The centre is also now delivering a monthly operating profit for SBC, compared to a significant monthly loss in the early months of the contract.

The SBIC offers 55 offices and flexible office space (from 1-15 people) with all of the core services. All customers also have access to a wide range of 1:1 business support from our on-site Innovation Director. We encourage networking amongst our customers, with regular business networking events, as well as a range of training and learning workshops / seminars on relevant business topics and skills in conjunction with partners.

At SBIC, our Innovation Director also runs an outreach business support programme called Pioneer10. This is our 12-month intensive accelerator programme of business support for start-ups, entrepreneurs and SME’s. Pioneer 10 is a fully-funded programme led by inspiring business experts featuring workshops, online tools, support and one-to-one business growth reviews. It has been designed for small, ambitious businesses in the Stockport area. Pioneer10 is available for entrepreneurs and businesses at all stages to help drive growth and development.

 

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