Funding boost gives Devon’s businesses more flex appeal

Posted on: 3 May 2016

Devon’s small businesses will receive a welcome boost as Devon County Council announces plans to expand the county’s network of flexible working spaces.

Around 20 per cent of Devon workers work from home, and many of those are home-based businesses looking for larger premises as their business expands.

Their contribution to the local economy is significant and support for the sector essential says the council, which already funds a network of Devon work hubs in Totnes, Tavistock and Barnstaple, with associate hubs in Exeter, East Budleigh and Torquay.

The hubs are run by local business people, providing inexpensive short term office accommodation equipped with all the technology that modern businesses need. And they’re helping small businesses make the leap from garden shed to modern office facilities.

Now the County Council is making further grants of up to £20,000, plus training and business support available to organisations that can develop work hubs in up to five more towns.

Cllr Andrew Leadbetter1Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for economic growth, says the county relies a great deal on its small, sometimes home-based businesses, and support to the industry makes Devon a more vibrant, prosperous and attractive place to other business looking to relocate.

“Small businesses and people with innovative new ideas for business play a large and essential part in our local Devon economy, so I am delighted that this funding will enable the council to offer the sector even more support,” he said.

“We know that our work hubs play an important part in the way businesses run.

“They offer much more than just a desk to rent, or a meeting room for the day. They are inspiring spaces for individuals and businesses to meet others in similar circumstances and share ideas and make new contacts.

“Our existing network of work hubs is really popular and I am looking forward to hearing from organisations who want to work with us to build on that success with this new round of funding.”

Amelia Isaac, who runs the Barnstaple Work Hub, said:

“It’s great to see businesses come in starting at a hot desk, and as their business grows they move into one of our offices at the hub and take on staff. During the two years plus that we’ve been running we’ve seen some businesses grow so much that they have eventually moved out of the Work Hub and into even bigger premises. It’s a pleasure to see people and their business ideas thriving.”

The Council is inviting applicants to register their intention to bid for funding by 12pm on Friday 13 May 2016 by emailing Katherine.coby@devon.gov.uk . The deadline for completed applications in noon on Friday 24 June 2016.

For more information and guidance, and to download an application form, please visit the work hubs website.

Find out more about Devon’s Work Hubs at www.devonworkhubs.co.uk

Posted in: Business and Economy | DCC Homepage