A note from the Director: Engine Shed – 4 Down, 11 to Go

Well, that’s another year gone. Four years since we opened Engine Shed – and nearly £400k of operating surplus generated. 30% of that has gone – or is on its way to going – into projects supporting our mission of long-term, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth.

Those words are ones we coined a couple of years ago to reflect what we saw as the right role for Engine Shed: making a positive long term impact on the city region, using the facility, connections, reputation, intelligence, and commitment that we have built up.

In January we will formally launch our ‘Super Project’ that extends our activities in support of our Diverse Workforce for the Future project, helping create the next generation of creators, innovators and leaders from the richly diverse population in the West of England.

That in itself will make 2018 really exciting, but we will also see the culmination of a year’s work on developing the Scale-Up Ecosystem – making sure that the business environment (in terms of people, markets, finance, and infrastructure) is as fertile as possible for organisations to scale. We are proud of the work that we have done to support job creation as well as increasing the flow of local young people towards those jobs – albeit over the long term.

There is much, much more to do, however, and we are exploring ways to make this growth more inclusive in the more immediate term. We look forward to working with new partners in 2018 to help deliver that. Our lease goes to 2028 but time is of the essence.

We have been proud to have hosted the LEP and, this year, the new Combined Authority – partnering in their growth and their increased profile during their time with us.

By the time you read this, we will know whether we finally have planning permission for Engine Shed 2 (the Secretary of State has until 20th December to approve it). If all goes well, we will announce early in in the New Year a target date for completion of that exciting new building. In the meantime, we are expecting to expand into Engine Shed’s attic to create more incubation space and also an extension to the temporary planning consent for Boxworks.

Other new partnerships this year include with investors Deepbridge Capital, Episode1, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, ADV, and Ignite and with new Business Lounge members, the Institute of Civil Engineers, Bristol Property Agents Association, and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. We also welcomed Oracle’s Startup Cloud Accelerator into the building and saw our friends, Boomsatsuma, grow rapidly – filling the space vacated by the LEP.

Last month saw our highest revenue month from the meeting rooms, by a long way, which reflects the strength of activity in the city-region – most of the new business was from evening network events.

The Engine Shed journey continues to be an exciting one and I will take this opportunity to thank all our partners, sponsors, stakeholders, hirers, advisory board, and, of course, the Engine Shed team: Briony, Emilie, Faye, Georgie, Jasmin, Karen, Lorraine, Paige and Yasmin – without whom none of this would be possible. Let’s see what the next 11 years bring us!