Million pound investment for Welsh innovation centre

Caerphilly-based Innovation centre Welsh ICE is expanding its start-up community with the purchase of a nearing building for £1 million.

The acquisition will see the firm expand its floor space to more than 27,500 square ft, allowing it to increase its capacity and offer more memberships to entrepreneurs.

There are already 120 members working from the centre, who get help, advice and guidance from a seasoned team of experts as they launch their own businesses.

An independent report published this year found that ICE has contributed more than £13 million to the Welsh economy since launching in 2012. It’s also helped 160 businesses start up.

As well as a strong knowledge-sharing community, ICE also offers bursaries to early-stage entrepreneurs so they can get their businesses off the ground, without having to pay for costly office space.

On the eve of its fourth birthday, Welsh ICE CEO Gareth Jones said: “We are thrilled with this new addition to our current properties, Britannia House and the Lodge, as it allows us to create an ICE campus and offer more help to the growing start-up community in south Wales.

“We already have a waiting list of people wanting office space in ICE buildings and the purchase of the Octagon means that we will be able to welcome them into our community sooner than anticipated.”

Gareth added: “Current Octagon residents will be unaffected by the purchase, but they will get the opportunity to join the ICE campus and community and take advantage of all the help, guidance and support that our great team offer.”

Welsh ICE is opening a new co-working space called the Courtyard, which has been created to cater for the growing number of ICE members. It will house an extra 25 desks for businesses.

Gareth explained: “We are already bursting at the seams with our current membership, so to be able to offer a further 25 desks in the Courtyard Space, and now with the Octagon also being available for new and current members it is a great time to join our community.

“It is estimated that we have already created around 375 jobs since we started nearly four years ago and we believe this new coworking space and building will add a further 100 jobs to that figure.”