Hereford’s first dedicated business incubation centre is entering an exciting new phase in 2023 after a new operator was appointed to manage The Shell Store.
The building, on Skylon Park, Hereford Enterprise Zone, has been a huge success since its formal opening in December 2021, welcoming a host of new businesses
and developing an active conference programme.
Now Town Square Spaces Ltd (TownSq), which has an established track record at successfully operating business hubs across the UK, has been appointed by Herefordshire Council to manage the centre.
Mark Pearce, Managing Director of Skylon Park, said: “Given changing working habits such as more employees being offered hybrid and home working post-pandemic, The Shell Store has bucked the trend by demonstrating the demand for high-quality office and conference space where teams can come together and grow.
“The Shell Store offers a unique working environment and we’re delighted to be at 60% occupancy of our office suites as we handover to TownSq, which is promising a host of new benefits for both existing and future tenants including hot-desking and networking events. We’re already home to the Marches Growth Hub and the Chamber of Commerce, giving businesses access to advice and support on site.”
As well as developing a vibrant community of entrepreneurs and remote workers, TownSq will provide everything founders need to start and grow. From infrastructure like professional meeting spaces and high-speed broadband, through to Start Up clubs, Business Accelerators and one-to-one mentorship.
Councillor Ellie Chowns, Cabinet member, environment and economy, Herefordshire Council said: “It’s exciting to see the Shell Store developing as envisaged, offering new and growing businesses the environment needed for their success. This is a unique and historic building that provides the space, facilities and support for innovative new and young enterprises to flourish, helping to create local jobs and build skills and expertise. We’re confident the Shell Store will continue to grow and make a vital contribution to supporting the economy of the county.”
Carl Turner, Community Director of TownSq said: “We’re proud to have been appointed as operators of The Shell Store and we’re excited to get started. We’ve already got some founding members on board and we’ll continue working to welcome more to our thriving community.
“The traditional way of working has changed, and the communities that embrace the importance of inclusive and vibrant workspaces will be the ones that stand out to the talented innovators and founders of future enterprise.
“Coworking is the beating heart of all our workspaces; When people from different businesses and industries work alongside each other, there’s a sharing of ideas that can lead to some incredible collaborations. When you create the environment for individuals and businesses to grow, that ripples out to the benefit of the wider community and the local economy.”
The former World War Two munitions factory was transformed in a £7.3m project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and a loan from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (MLEP).
Mandy Thorn MBE, Chair of the Marches LEP, said the Shell Store was an excellent example of the LEP delivering on its promise to work with our partners to create the conditions for economic growth and sustainable job creation across the region through its £18m total investment into the Zone.
“We have supported this project through a £2.4m loan from the Marches Investment Fund because it is vital for the long-term success of our economy that we work to encourage and nurture young businesses, help support innovation and provide a business ecosystem which fosters growth. We’re looking forward to the next stage of the Shell Store’s evolution.”