Stakeholders and key influencers from the further and higher education, creative and digital technology and business sectors attended the invite only event on Wednesday morning, to find out what the unique, collaborative co-working space will offer to occupiers.
Denise Edghill, Associate Director for Economic Development and Skills at Southampton City Council addressed attendees at the event, alongside Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Christopher Hammond, General Manager at The Marlands, Tim Keeping, and local entrepreneur Tom Barnett. The speakers outlined how Network will support creative, digital and knowledge based entrepreneurs by providing the city’s first collaborative, co-working environment.
Denise said: “Co-working environments are well established in cities such as London and Manchester and it’s imperative that we provide a fit for purpose flexible space in order for this growth industry sector to continue to thrive in Southampton. Network will deliver exactly that.”
Southampton City Council is making a £1.5m capital investment in the project. In addition, Ellandi, the asset managers of The Marlands and the UK’s leading manager of Community Shopping Centres, are investing to create a new dedicated entrance from Portland Terrace, installing new lifts and replacing windows to the 12,500 sq ft second floor space.
With uniquely flexible membership options available to tenants, Network will be ready for occupation in January 2019, with the official opening in February.
Jonathan Robson, Asset Management Director at Ellandi said: “We are delighted to be working closely in partnership with Southampton City Council to deliver this innovative co-working environment in what will be a leading example of re-purposing retail accommodation within Community Shopping Centres.”
The council is linking in with both of the city’s Universities to enable businesses to innovate and graduates to support the growth of the local economy.
Caroline Barfoot, Head of Employability and Student Enterprise at Solent University said: “This is a really exciting development for the city. Creative businesses flourish here and it will be great for them to have such a new and exciting space to work in. Solent University is 8th in the UK (HE-BCI, 2017) for graduate business start-ups and this will be another excellent reason for graduates to stay in Southampton."
Chair of the Web Science Institute Advisory Board at the University of Southampton, Tom Barnett, said: "This is a fantastic first step for Southampton towards building a meaningful network that can support emerging enterprises that can tackle the rapid changes we are facing today."