SWINDON Council is hoping innovative start-ups will thrive in Swindon once a new £1m Workshed opens on June 1.

Aimed at fast-growing and disruptive small and medium-sized businesses the Workshed is the result of a £1m refurbishment of the former Brunel Carriage Works.

Building on Swindon’s historic role in technological innovation in the railways The SME Innovators’ Incubation Centre is hoping to provide a fertile ground for future ground-breaking businesses.

Newly-appointed manager Jol Rose said: “Brunel was a major innovator 200 years ago with his engineering triumphs of trains, tunnels, bridges and ships. The Workshed brings innovation right back to the heart of Swindon!

“Inventors face so many disappointments before they get their breakthroughs. Think of Edison’s thousand attempts at creating the light bulb. Our vision is to nurture business owners and help them thrive in a supportive atmosphere.”

The Workshed will create 150 co-working spaces in mainly open-plan office space, with affordable rates starting at £75 to encourage the growth of local start-ups. It will be owned by Swindon Borough Council and run by a Wiltshire Council initiative The Enterprise Network using Government and EU funds.

The regeneration of the Carriage Works building has been a focus for Swindon Borough Council’s plans to regenerate the town centre. The council is investing £2m in the project to deliver five units in total, with unit three nearing completion and unit five underway, adding a further 6,000 sq ft of office space.

Coun David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The Carriage Works is a really exciting project and I am delighted to welcome The Enterprise Network on board as we have already attracted a lot of interest from businesses across Swindon, Wiltshire and further afield.

“The Council is making a significant investment in bringing these historical buildings back to life and creating a thriving hub for business and cultural uses. We already have some businesses ready to move in and with the Carriage Works’ close proximity to the railway station, I’m sure it will be an attractive option for many firms.”