Pioneering Yeovil Innovation Centre unveils exciting expansion to support even more new businesses as it marks its 10th birthday

It's been 11 months in the making and as the original Yeovil Innovation Centre (YIC) marks its 10th birthday, South Somerset District Council is delighted to announce the opening of its pioneering expansion.

YIC has been providing a creative and vital space for small businesses to grow and flourish since 2008. Now a new wing has been added to provide those same opportunities for even more developing enterprises.

Here's everything you need to know about this exciting scheme:

What is the Yeovil Innovation Centre?

The YIC is a hub for small businesses that allows them to grow and develop with all the support they need.

Based just outside the town centre, YIC hosts multi-purpose office suites with modern, contemporary networking areas for innovative businesses looking to grow and thrive.

Yeovil is home to many businesses with technological and mechanical expertise. Reflecting this, YIC is home to many organisations with a technological and innovative focus. With the centre providing a solid base to grow among like-minded peers, these businesses have been thriving.

What has the second phase involved?

YIC has been very successful to date and a number of enquiries for additional smaller office accommodation are regularly received.

With funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) and South Somerset District Council (SSDC), YIC has expanded to allow the opportunities for small and developing businesses to be even greater than before.

SSDC made a bid to the HotSW LEP for £442,000 from Growth Deal funding, which enabled an entirely new wing for YIC to be developed at the site.

This means there's an additional 9,500sq feet of flexible office accommodation to enable more start-up and small businesses to establish themselves, expand and benefit from working with similar businesses at the existing YIC. The stylish new extension building has been built to a high standard with very modern and flexible accommodation offerings.

Outside3

What does the new expansion at YIC offer?

Accommodation starts with as little as 10 sq m to rent, which can then grow with the business needs. This is coupled with an excellent front of house/reception service and open plan meeting area with refreshments. It is a fantastic facility for new and start up innovative businesses, meeting the tenant criteria of the YIC, for this growing sector in the SSDC district.

All of the support offered in the original Yeovil Innovation Centre is available to the new extension, including:

Space to Innovate

The Yeovil Innovation Centre is an evolving business community aimed at ambitious organisations and entrepreneurs looking for a flexible, prestigious, low-cost solution with space for growth. The diverse community of tenants enjoy prestigious office accommodation, super-fast 'leased-line' Internet and stunning hospitality and meeting areas, without the commitment of a long lease.

The Innovation Centre use an easy in, easy out policy, with the option to break on one month's notice. Within the monthly rent there are many services included such as:

  • Buildings insurance
  • Site management charges
  • Heating
  • Lighting
  • Electricity (unless usage is above normal)
  • Water (unless usage is above normal)
  • Cleaning of common areas
  • Use of common areas i.e. kitchen, Eat & Meet area, courtyard, WC's / showers
  • Security
  • On-site business support
  • Reception - greeting visitors, receiving telephone calls in a client's absence, post distribution

Reception

Business Support

Members of South Somerset District Council's Economic Development team can offer all businesses free, impartial and confidential advice. The Yeovil Innovation Centre also hosts training programmes for local organisations to develop their skills in a multitude of topics, for example:

  • Assertiveness, Self-confidence and Communication
  • Dealing with Difficult people and Negativity
  • Essentials of People Management
  • Time Management

These training opportunities are perks of having a well-established Centre for Innovation in Yeovil. By having this hub for business allows a space for small businesses to develop their skills and grow their organisation.

Meeting rooms

Versatile meeting rooms are available to everyone, from Monday to Friday between the hours of 08.30 & 17.30 and are suitable for a variety of events, ranging from interviews to small training events. The largest meeting room can accommodate up to 30 delegates and comes complete with a laptop, whilst our small meeting room can hold up to 6 people.

Did you know?

The Yeovil Innovation Centre's expansion is one of the most eco-friendly buildings that SSDC has ever created. A key element of the project was to ensure that the construction process was as eco-friendly as possible, and that the building will continue to be as eco-friendly as possible while in use. In fact, 92.5% of all the building materials and construction waste was recycled.

The building itself is constructed from modern building materials in the form of clay porotherm blocks and render, solar shaded windows and passive airflows. Solar panels are also to be erected on the roof in the future. All of the materials used will allow the Innovation Centre to run in an energy efficient way.

What do businesses have to say?

Perspicuity, one of the many tech organisations at the Yeovil Innovation Centre, has moved to a larger suite within the Centre in the last few months and are thriving despite the current economic climate. The larger suite is needed to cope with the ever-increasing workload of the business and follows the trend of several tenants who are deciding to expand their operations within the Centre.

Nigel Chappell, Operations Director at Perspicuity, said: "The flexibility of the space at YIC has allowed Perspicuity to grow with its needs for office space. We are now in our fourth office within the building and the ability of being able to move at relatively short notice combined with the meeting room facilities has supported all of our requirements and allowed us to grow in the business sector and also within the centre."

There are many examples of businesses who have expanded within YIC and more examples of businesses who have used the Centre to grow and develop which has now led to them securing premises outside YIC.

Councillor Val Keitch, Leader of South Somerset District Council, said: "In order to help small businesses grow we have to develop areas and spaces for them to do so. The opening of the new wing of the Yeovil Innovation Centre will not only allow small businesses to grow, but also encourage new start-ups and other small business to move to the area."

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Deputy Leader of South Somerset District Council, added: "Encouraging the growth of small business is essential in developing Yeovil and the surrounding areas. Businesses that use the Yeovil Innovation Centre benefit from a multitude of services both automatically included and available for them to choose from, and by giving these benefits it encourages business not only to come to South Somerset, but to stay as well."

Mike Borkowski, Business Development Director for Midas Construction, said, "As a regionally-based business we were thrilled to play a part in developing this exciting new facility which is set to contribute to economic growth in South Somerset and the wider South West. It is great to see the project completed and to see local businesses already beginning to benefit from the additional capacity created at the Yeovil Innovation Centre."

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: "The innovation centre will be a great asset for Yeovil, promoting economic growth in the area and beyond. A prosperous local economy is important to everyone, including local authorities, and we warmly welcome the completion of the centre."

Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "Yeovil Innovation Centre is one of the LEP's portfolio of Growth Deal Funded projects that are taking shape throughout the HotSW area of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay to create the right conditions for businesses to grow.

"This new extension will add flexible office space for more businesses to start up and benefit from working in this innovative environment."

YIC Room 13

Above: One of the new office spaces within YIC2