The story so far...

From the outset: January 2012

We took possession of the building at the start of 2012, and because it had been vacant for nearly two years, it required re-decorating throughout. However, already having several enquiries from companies interested to move in, we decorated in phases to bring areas online as quickly as possible for occupation. We thank both the companies and the contractors involved in being accommodating during this period, as it enabled us to start generating revenue sooner and it enabled our new resident companies to start work in their new premises more quickly.

 

Growing our local economy

Many of our companies have come from a home-working environment where they were constrained from taking on new staff. Providing them with a flexible office environment in conducive surroundings has enabled them to employ and expand. This has benefited both the Herefordshire and Worcestershire economies, as being situated on the county border, employees come from both counties.

 

SoldbyWICJubileeStartUpBus

 

6 months in - June 2012

After less than 6 months of operation, our Centre had 15 companies in residence:

- a high-tech start-up that moved in and employed approx 4 new staff on top of the founding directors.

- a company that a few months after moving in was acquired by an AIM-listed company, providing a windfall to the founders.

- 2 companies that recruited one or more staff, either part time or full time as a result of operating from the Centre.

- 1 company that won a sizeable new contract enabling them to recruit a new member of staff in the ensuing months.

- 1 company that moved in over the following summer and consequently searched for a new part-time member of staff to join them in the Centre.

- 3 companies that offered work experience or student placements over the summer months, helping to train new employees for the future.

- 2 overseas companies that could lead to future inward investment for the UK.

 

12 months in - December 2012

At the end of 2012, just under a year from starting the Centre, the facility was nearly fully occupied. We had also expanded our hot-desking offering by creating a new Hot Desk Zone with capacity for 14 people at any one time. This enables the next wave of home-workers to operate either periodically or permanently from the Centre. It is particularly suited to software developers, website developers, app developers, business & technology consultants, and graphic designers; offering a great way to get work done and to collaborate when appropriate.  The zone also provides overflow space when our existing companies outgrow their current offices and need to have new members of staff nearby. In summary:

- 22 organisations, companies, and sole traders were in residence in offices, at hot desks, or as a virtual presence.

- Multi-function seminar space was now complete, having held a Ministry of Defence consultation event with SMEs on cyber reservists, and a seminar on Doing Business in S.E. Asia and China.

 

18 months in - June 2013

On 1st June 2013 we officially opened the Malvern Hills GeoCentre, marking the completion of a sizeable project to provide a visitor information centre which is the official visitor centre for the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Way. The facility includes the ancillary Cafe H2O serving both the resident companies in the Centre and those visiting the information centre.

The Centre also continued to grow in popularity for entrepreneurs and businesses, with all the offices occupied and an increasing number of users at hot desks. We also started to run regular business and networking events from the Centre:

- 26 organisations, companies, and sole traders in residence in offices, at hot desks, or as a virtual presence.

- The Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, Technology for Tourism initiative, Malvern Mumpreneurs, and Malvern Jelly regularly being hosted at the Centre.

 

24 months in - December 2013

By the end of December 2013 we were celebrating another successful year which saw the StartUp Britain bus visit the Centre in July, the full occupation of all our office space, and more than 30 organisations in residence or affiliated with the Centre. Moreover, we were getting regular enquiries for the hot desks, and the numbers of entrepreneurs joining the centre continued to grow.

Cafe H2O was now being run full time by Jamboree, and their team of adults each with a learning difficulty were thoroughly enjoying, and benefitting from, the experience of operating a cafe. This successful year culminated with the Christmas Lunch & Carol Service in which many of the Jamboree team stood up and read to an audience.

Towards the end of 2013 we had a visit from Peter Day, Global Business Correspondent for the BBC, as he researched his piece on Cyber Town Malvern.

 

30 months in - June 2014

Time continued to fly by, and by June 2014 we had hosted several student Raspberry Pi jams as part of our after-school programme to encourage local school students to take up computing and electronics. This initiative is in collaboration with CAS as well as STEMNET, and our resident company Little Pi Shop.  We had also held our first family & adult evening Raspberry Jam and see this activity growing in popularity.

Occupancy continues to be excellent and we welcomed new hot-deskers on both a flexible and 'fixed desk' basis. With new flower pots and improved disabled access in the car park, the Cafe and Malvern Hills GeoCentre remains an inviting venue for refreshments and researching local information.

 

36 months in - December 2014

By October 2014 we had raised money for a community defibrillator to be located at the Centre. The defibrillator is now sited outside in the car park in a temperature-controlled security cabinet and is available 24/7 in case of an emergency. People who would like to familiarise themselves with the equipment may request more information from the staff in Cafe H2O.

During this period, we also changed our reception into a new office so as to keeping accommodating one of our rapidly growing companies who had outgrown their two/three person office.

 

3 1/2 years in - June 2015

The Centre continued to thrive with its resident small medium enterprises securing new business and growing. We were highlighted in Tech City UK's TechNation Report and a number of our businesses and entrepreneurs received national press coverage. The Centre also played host to a growing number of important international delegations keen to understand more about supporting small businesses and creating a vibrant start-up location in a rural setting. For example, visitors came from the Ukraine and Malvern's twin town Mariánské Lázně.

During this period we also began raising money for an all terrain mobility scooter (Tramper) to be located at the Malvern Hills GeoCentre and available for hire so as to enable those with a physical disability to enjoy the Malvern Hills and travel to the Worcestershire Beacon summit.

Another addition to our facility was the provision of an electric vehicle (EV) point in our car park for visitors to the business centre, GeoCentre, or cafe to use for free whilst on site.

 

4 years in - December 2015

By now the centre had over 50 organisations associated with it making use of the offices, hot desks and virtual office facilities. At the end of the year, one of our fasted growing companies moved into larger premises of their own in Great Malvern. This enabled another rapidly growing company that was located in the Hot Desk zone to move seamlessly into the newly released office, demonstrating the importance of providing a nurturing and vertically-integrated growth environment for our resident businesses. Another of our companies also expanded into the Malvern Hills Science Park as we could no longer accommodate them as they recruited more staff.

During this period, the first apprentice at the Centre also completed his training and he had gained valuable experience about all aspects of running a facility and working in a small business.

The Centre and some of its companies were also featured in Tech City Insider's report about Malvern's technology cluster.

 

5 years in - December 2016

We launched an all-terrain mobility scooter in the spring from the Malvern Hills GeoCentre, enabling people with limited mobility to travel to the top of Worcestershire Beacon on a Tramper.

A couple of our resident companies out grew the space available and have moved into the Malvern Hills Science Park or other local business parks with larger units. This demonstrates how the Centre is helping businesses expand and recruit more staff.

  

What's next?

As we enter our sixth year, we hope to offer a second Tramper from the Malvern Hills GeoCentre.

We continue to develop and expand our programme of business events to ensure that the Centre remains a focal point for starting and growing enterprises in the Malvern area. This will not only help the existing companies in the Centre, but also support the growth of our local economy.

Keep in touch...

Wyche Innovation Centre, Walwyn Road, Malvern WR13 6PL

Email:  info [at] wyche-innovation.com

Tel: +44 (0) 1684 252 152

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