Vanessa Wood, Centre Manager at Business Central in Darlington
North East BIC


Innovation Central: Replicating the success of Darlington's Business Central at a new location

Vanessa Wood, Centre Manager at Business Central in Darlington, explains how she aims to replicate the success of the site to help launch more start-ups at Innovation Central.

The first thing you notice when you walk through the doors of Business Central is how homely it feels.

The building’s design around a central atrium creates an atmosphere of community and our reception desk at the entrance means there’s always a friendly face to welcome you.

That really makes a difference to the start-up businesses that are based here – whether they’re a freelancer, or sole trader using our coworking space, or a small company with one of our 60 dedicated offices.

Businesses are run by people and people generally need to be around other people to be happy.

That’s been a major takeaway from the pandemic for us. Despite our worst fears about a possible drop in demand for business space, we’ve remained almost fully occupied throughout and I think it’s that connection to others that’s made the difference.

Our tenants found it reassuring and stabilising to be plugged into a community for information and support and even just another friendly human voice.

Business Central in Darlington

But we take nothing for granted when it comes to providing the right type of physical environment for our tenants. Since the pandemic we’ve carefully considered how people now want to work.

We’ve refreshed our coworking space to feel calmer and less corporate.

Add that to our facilities such as our gym, micro spa, events and socials and this becomes so much more than a place to simply plug in your laptop.

We’re empathetic towards our start-ups too. We know the challenges entrepreneurs face and I like to think we act as extra family members who really care. People will often ask our opinion on things, test out ideas or rehearse their presentations on us.

Even just a friendly face at the end of a long day, someone to share a bad joke with or have a chat about the football, can be huge.

Since opening the doors of the workspace in 2015, we’ve helped 200 businesses to get started and grow. You’d think we’d be sad to see our beloved businesses grow up and move on but we feel a bit like proud parents seeing our children fly the nest!

There are always new, up-and-coming businesses ready to fill the space and right now there’s more demand than we can accommodate.

That’s why we’re aiming to replicate the model at the new Innovation Central development that’s currently under construction just a few minutes’ walk away on the Central Park site.

We’ll be operating the centre on behalf of Darlington Council and we’ll extend the entrepreneurial environment we’ve already established at Business Central to give the best start to even more entrepreneurs.

We’ll be connected by the same ethos, team and facilities.

There’ll even be electric bikes so tenants can move quickly between the two sites and make the most of everything we have to offer. It’s exciting to be growing our family and we can’t wait to get started.

Business Central is managed by the North East BIC.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by North East BIC .

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