Digital Hub operators appointed

Published: 17 May 2018

Successful bid revealed for running Bognor Regis Creative Digital Hub

The successful bid to operate the Bognor Regis Creative Digital Hub has been announced today by West Sussex County Council.

The hub is a county council initiative which will provide shared and collaborative workspace and business support for creative and digital start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs in Bognor Regis and coastal West Sussex.

Announcing the successful bidder, county council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “This is a really exciting initiative which will nurture local entrepreneurial talent and I am delighted to say that, following a competitive selection process, the successful bidder is Town Square Spaces Ltd.

“The company will bring a wealth of experience to the role of managing the hub space and working with local partners to deliver business support activities for creative and digital businesses. One of the company’s founders and leaders, Gareth Jones, has an added incentive to see the hub go from success to success, as he has family connections with the Bognor Regis area.

“The hub will be located within the recently-refurbished Grade II Listed Bognor Regis Railway Station and its interior is being designed by Hemingway Design, led by internationally-renowned designer and West Sussex resident, Wayne Hemingway.

“It is scheduled to open later this year and until the official launch Town Square Spaces will work with local partners and businesses to engage with the creative digital community in Bognor Regis.”

Town Square Spaces is led by Gareth Jones and Mandy Weston, (pictured below) who successfully ran the Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE) in Caerphilly, Wales, for six years, and are set to launch the Wrexham Enterprise Hub on behalf of the Welsh Government's Business Wales this month.

Since its start in 2012, ICE has grown to become the home of more than 200 businesses, 400 staff and entrepreneurs, and in 2016 was said to have contributed more than £13.8million to the Welsh economy. Town Square Spaces plans to bring the same commitment, ambition and expertise to the Bognor Regis Creative Digital Hub and will recruit a local team of people to work with them to manage it.

Gareth Jones said: "We're delighted to have been appointed as operators of the Bognor Regis Creative Digital Hub and are excited to get work underway. We've already begun drawing up plans to create a welcoming community of creative and digital start-ups and small businesses, which will be made easier thanks to the beautiful surroundings of the newly-refurbished historical building. Connections and transport are a vital part of co-working, and they don't come much better than being situated in a railway station.

"I've another connection to the town in that my grandmother is from Bognor Regis. I have family in the area, so I feel personally motivated to make a great success of the hub.

"There's a huge amount of potential in Bognor Regis and we're proud to be the team that will help give the next wave of entrepreneurs the supportive start they need. Coastal towns like Bognor Regis are often overlooked but this is where some of the most exciting and endearing business journeys begin. We've seen it in Caerphilly and Wrexham, and now we're itching to contribute to the Bognor Regis story."

Background notes on Town Square Spaces

Town Square Spaces says it aims ‘to create, nurture and grow start-ups and small businesses amongst the often overlooked towns and villages across the country’. Through the spirit of entrepreneurship, the team aim to find solutions to local challenges.

Town Square Spaces was founded by Gareth Jones and Mandy Weston, who were also co-founders of the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE) in Caerphilly, before leaving to start the new venture.

Co-Founder Gareth Jones has established and led one of the UK’s largest community of entrepreneurs at ICE. He is an advisory member on the boards of Properr, Cardiff University Impact Accelerator, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Strategic Regional Group, and Cardiff Start.

Co-founder Mandy Weston led mergers and acquisition integration for venture capital-backed start-ups before joining ICE. Mandy is a Director of Wize Virtual Admin, and an advisory member on the boards of WRI, Go Connect CIC, Breast Centre Wales, Big Ideas Wales Role Model and Caerphilly Education Forum. She is also a former chair of Caerphilly Business Forum.

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