A new £8.5 million innovation centre in Northampton that will provide office accommodation and meeting rooms for businesses, charities and community organisations is set to open next month.
The innovation centre, situated opposite Northampton Railway Station features 42 office units, a cafe and conference space and will be run by the University of Northampton.
Tenants of the centre will be given access to specialist University of Northampton business support to help them measure and develop their social value.
Helen Willmott, marketing and project manager for commercial services at the university, said: “The Innovation Centre exists to support enterprises to develop and operate their business in a socially responsible manner and deliver social benefits, which will benefit Northampton and the wider region.
“I would encourage those involved with, or thinking of starting, any business venture that delivers social impact to contact the team at the Innovation Centre, to find out more about the benefits of taking a tenancy here.”
Nine organisations have already signed up for a space in the innovation centre, including Enterprise Solutions Northamptonshire (ESN), an independent social enterprise and co-operative development agency.
Mike Tiller, agency manager for ESN, said: “While we weren’t actively seeking to relocate, as soon as we visited the Innovation Centre we knew it was the perfect place for us to operate from.
“The fact the centre has other social enterprises under the same roof is also very attractive to us – it’s going to be a real hub of activity.”
Another tenant is the charity Zimwomen Association, which aims to empower and support vulnerable women, young people and children.
Rutendo Nyatsine, founder and chairperson of the association, said: “Taking a space at the Innovation Centre means we can set up a dedicated one-stop shop for young people in a central location. We can use the meeting rooms to run workshops and training sessions which help young people secure employment.
“The presence of the other organisations under the same roof is also a huge positive for us. There may be scope for their staff to share their knowledge with the young people via workshops, and they may also be able to offer work experience and internships which could help lead to paid employment.”
To find out more about the Innovation Centre, visit www.northamptoninnovationcentre.co.uk, or call 01604 779011.