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Vulcan Works prepares to welcome creative and digital trailblazers

ONCE it was a grade II listed ironworks factory. Now, after a £14 million transformation, Vulcan Works is ready to open its doors to Northamptonshire’s creative businesses.

The building pictured above in the heart of Northampton’s Cultural Quarter, is to become home to up to 68 start-up businesses in the creative and digital sector. An Open Day next month is already fully booked and Oxford Innovation Space, which has been appointed to run the building, is handling a stream of enquiries for available space.

Vulcan Works is due to open officially in February. It is estimated that it will support around 150 start-up businesses in its first ten years, creating around 500 jobs. The centre has also pledged to work with local contractors and agencies, ploughing more money back into the local economy.

Oxford Innovation Space has been managing similar properties around the UK for more than 30 years. “Each centre is different,” said OIS managing director Jo Stevens.

“We are hugely excited by Vulcan Works and it has been an honour to be part of such an inspiring regeneration project. We cannot wait to see some talented creative businesses move in and hope they feel just as inspired by this space as we are.”

Inside the transformed Vulcan Works.

The construction and refurbishment works have been funded by West Northamptonshire Council and the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, which facilitated a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6.3 million, together with £3.06 million from the European Regional Development Fund. Construction was completed in August.

Cllr Daniel Lister, West Northamptonshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, said: “We are thrilled with how Vulcan Works has turned out. The space has been finished to an exceptionally high standard while retaining a number of period features which provide a nod to our local history here in Northampton.

“The project is really gaining momentum now and is close to opening its doors. I look forward to finding out more about the creative start-up businesses who will call this unique space home and seeing what they achieve through the dedicated support on offer.”

As part of the Vulcan Works offer, Oxford Innovation Space will provide access to a programme of workshops, seminars, one-to-one coaching and networking. It has also appointed centre manager Garrick Hurter, assistant centre manager Gail Haddon and commercial manager Kelly Boosey to oversee the day-to-day running of Vulcan Works.

The centre is planning further Open Days ahead of its official opening to meet demand, Ms Boosey said. “We cannot wait to start building the community at Vulcan Works,” she added. “We are more than just space. Along with the fantastic specialised business support we offer, we are going to create a brilliant hub for start-ups and scale-ups in Northampton.”

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