Engine Shed is a collaboration between Bristol City Council, the University of Bristol and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. Opened in December 2013, the hub creates an ecosystem by facilitating connections, activities and opportunities across the city; 30,000 people are estimated to have visited the building in 2015/16.
Engine Shed is open to anyone in the Bath and Bristol region and does not have a specific sector focus. Rather, it focuses on cluster building to stimulate economic activity. It has hosted, sponsored and initiated 63 networking events in its first three years of operation. It supports the local authorities, the LEP (itself a tenant) and Invest Bristol & Bath in their work. It enables co-working for small enterprises, access to networks, and hosts and supports events to connect actors in the ecosystem. In May 2017, Engine Shed appointed a full-time ‘Scale Up Enabler’ to develop the broader scaleup ecosystem.
Engine Shed also hosts a number of accelerators (including Oracle and the world-leading Bristol SETsquared Centre), provides meeting spaces to support collaboration (rooms for hire and members’ Business Lounge).
It has hosted a number of school groups for talks and exposure to the working environment of world-class tech start-ups; more than 1,900 primary school children have carried ‘maker’ type activities ((footnote: a new school of educational thought that focuses on delivering a constructivist, project-based learning curriculum). Overall, it has welcomed over 600 academic colleagues from across the region. ‘Investors in Residence’ offer their time for scale-up businesses to discuss investment options nationally and locally. This informal service helps both businesses and investors better understand the market and share experience.
Engine Shed is a strong model of an infrastructure hub that is a fertile, inclusive place to invigorate and support the regional ecosystem and stimulate long-term economic growth. Planning permission is now being sought for Engine Shed 2 that will add 44,000 sq. ft. of space for companies.
If you know any national or local scaleup programmes that you want to recommend as a potential case study for the Institute to consider please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org