UNVEILING: The official launch of BASE Bordon Innovation Centre at Broxhead House, Bordon, East Hampshire. From left, Councillor Ferris Cowper of East Hampshire District Council and Portfolio Holder for Whitehill & Bordon, Homes England's Kevin Bourner, General Manager - SW Region, Dr Michael Short CBE, Chairman of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, and David Crichton-Miller, Chief Executive of SQW Group, an economic development group which is Oxford Innovation's parent company. Oxford Innovation runs BASE on behalf of Homes England.
A thriving enterprise hub has been officially launched as part of the £50 million regeneration of a former army garrison in East Hampshire.
BASE Bordon Innovation Centre at Broxhead House, Bordon, brings together innovators, entrepreneurs and collaborators in a collaborative workspace setting for start-ups and growth firms.
Already home to 12 businesses, the former officers’ mess has been transformed into 34 offices, co-working space, a business lounge and meeting rooms, offering customers an impressive environment with inclusive business growth support.
Current occupiers specialise in a range of sectors which include aerospace, software, engineering, telecoms and digital media, generating high-value local jobs.
The project, set to create in excess of 230 jobs, was delivered by Homes England and supported by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and East Hampshire District Council, with more than 80 guests from private and public sectors attending the launch.
BASE is managed on behalf of Homes England by UKSPA member Oxford Innovation, which operates a further 23 Innovation Centres across the UK.
They include three others in Hampshire - Portsmouth Technopole, Fareham Innovation Centre and Ocean Village Innovation Centre in Southampton.
A plaque to commemorate the official launch was unveiled by Kevin Bourner, General Manager - SW Region, Homes England, and Dr Michael Short CBE, Chairman of Enterprise M3 LEP and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for International Trade.
They praised the collaboration between the private and public sectors in delivering the enterprise hub, which will help drive internal investment, with the aim of creating in excess of 230 jobs.
David Crichton-Miller, Chief Executive of SQW Group, an economic development group which is Oxford Innovation's parent company, gave a speech detailing the journey BASE has been on since conception.
He cited the importance of the vibrant employment space in the wider £50 million regeneration of the area, including hundreds of new homes.
Jobs being created at BASE, and through the wider supply chain, will help drive internal investment at Bordon so that it doesn’t become a “dormitory town” where residents have to commute elsewhere for work.
Mr Crichton-Miller added: “The majority of economic growth comes from small to medium sized enterprises – providing for entrepreneurs, innovators and small businesses is now essential.”
Saying that it takes a village to raise a child, he publicly thanked the organisations which worked together to make BASE a reality.
They included Homes England, Enterprise M3 LEP, East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, Rider Levett Bucknall, the project managers of the build and refurbishment, Concept, which carried out the building works, Oxford Innovation and the “many local residents and organisations” that took part and supported the development.
Woolmer Forest Heritage Society was credited for providing a body of heritage material – the 18-month conversion at Broxhead House includes features such as a display of military caps from various regiments with links to the former army barracks.
Jo Willett, Oxford Innovation’s managing director, said after the event: “BASE is up and running, with nearly 30% occupancy following the arrival of 12 businesses.
“One of the valuable benefits that BASE offers customers is its on-site business support team, lead by our experienced innovation director, Richard May.
“Our team is not only on hand to guide business growth with specialist support and coaching, but also to open doors to funding opportunities and networks that make a significant difference to business success.
“Many BASE customers will be in the early stages of developing and growing their businesses. It is the ideal way to move out of your home office and into an inspiring community.”
Close to the ‘sci-tech’ corridor of the M3, which includes the aerospace engineering hub at Farnborough, BASE has convenient access to the A3, London and South Coast.
Owned by Homes England, the centre has been significantly funded by a £4 million Local Growth Fund investment from Enterprise M3 LEP.
Located within the government-backed EZ³ Enterprise Zone, BASE offers a range of benefits for eligible businesses.
They include up to 100% business rates discount, worth up to £275,000 over a five-year period, high-quality business support, expert support to help access the government’s R&D tax credit scheme and access to global markets through the Department for International Trade.