AMBITIOUS plans to bring a multi-million pound technology hub aimed at boosting start-up businesses to Nottingham have taken a huge step forward.
Called Accelerate Nottingham, the hub will be located at Poynt North, Wollaton Street, after the acquisition of the premises by investment firm Blenheim Chalcot – which is behind the project that is expected to create 200 new jobs in the city.
Leading the way for Blenheim is former Capital One executive, Mark Onyett – the man responsible for setting up TDX Group in the city in 2004, and selling the business after a decade for an impressive £200m.
Blenheim Chalcot has already invested some £40m into establishing three new businesses in the city and has set its sights on creating Nottingham’s equivalent of Silicon Roundabout in London – the third largest technology start-up cluster in the world, following San Francisco and New York, with companies including Google and Facebook among those that have invested in the area.
The firm has signed a deal to purchase Poynt North which will house all three businesses – Oakbrook Finance, Sequensis and BizFiTech. The tech hub will give them the support they need for them to expand and flourish and will also be open to third party businesses as a provider of co-working space.
Mark Onyett, who is a partner at Blenheim Chalcot, said: “Nottingham is a fantastic place to build a business – there are two good universities here and there is a wealth of data analytics skill in the city, which means we can find great staff.
“With Accelerate Nottingham, we will be bringing together all of Blenheim Chalcot’s current businesses in the city which includes a consumer lender, tech business and a small business lender, but that is just the beginning.
“We are committed to Nottingham and believe that we are going to create something really special at Accelerate Nottingham, a cluster of technology skills which is attractive to businesses looking to locate in a space where skills and ideas can be exchanged with ease.”
Finding the right location for the new hub was essential to Mark and his team who began to outgrow their existing premises in Wilford Street rapidly after establishing in the city.
“Our expansion plans for Nottingham are ambitious,” added Mark. “We very quickly reached 70 staff – a figure we plan to at least double during the next 12 to 18 months.
“Ultimately, we could easily attract a great deal more people than that. Silicon Roundabout is an excellent example of where people come together and want to locate because there is a real buzz.”
Accelerate Nottingham will be the first technology growth-orientated co-working space in the city and will feature large break-out areas and collaborative spaces as well as setting aside work space for external members and companies – in addition to housing Blenheim Chalcot’s businesses. Blenheim Chalcot is expected to invest more than £200,000 upgrading the building to create the new space.
Matt Hannah, director at Innes England in Nottingham, secured the deal on behalf of Blenheim Chalcot.
He said: “Mark and his team have already made a significant investment into the city and this acquisition of premises further illustrates their commitment to Nottingham and the talent there is here.
“Accelerate Nottingham will offer an excellent opportunity for technology businesses to cluster together by creating a real powerhouse of skills right in the heart of the city.”
The deal, which was brokered at MIPIM this year, is a major coup for Nottingham.
Jonathan Emmerson and Robert Maxey at heb property consultants acted on behalf of Henry Boot on the sale.
Robert said: “It is great to have been involved in what should be a fantastic boost to the city. Heb and Innes England have been involved throughout the building’s life cycle from start to finish.
“We originally acquired the property for Henry Boot from Matt Hannah and his team in 2005. To see Matt buy it back ten years later is a pleasing co-incidence.”