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Witney Business and Innovation Centre welcomes first Occupiers

PUBLISHED: 14:51 24 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:39 20 February 2013

Witney Business and Innovation Centre welcomes first Occupiers

Witney Business and Innovation Centre welcomes first Occupiers

Five companies move into the Centre as it opens for business

Witney Business and Innovation Centre welcomes first Occupiers

Five companies move into the Centre as it opens for business

Witney Business and Innovation Centre, a new facility created by Blenheim Palace to support local start-ups and growing companies, formally opened its doors for business in December- with five companies already taking occupation. The Centre provides offices and business support for up to 21 businesses and is managed by Oxford Innovation.

During an Open Day event held in December, John Hoy, chief executive of Blenheim Palace, welcomed the first occupiers and other guests including senior representatives from the local business, public sector and research communities. Chris Allington, managing director of Oxford Innovations business and innovation centres division, spoke about the vision for the centre as a hub for local entrepreneurship.

The 28,000 sq ft business and innovation centre has been extensively refurbished and is located at the entrance to the Windrush Industrial Park, close to the thriving market town of Witney, Oxfordshire. Flexibility is a key consideration with offices available in a range of sizes from 100 to 3,000 sq ft, designed for one to 30 people, on flexible letting agreements so that occupiers are free from long term commitments. Businesses joining the Centre can benefit from tailored business support including access to funding from local investment networks, business planning advice and networking events. Virtual office services are available for entrepreneurs who are not yet ready to take on office space.

The Centre also offers a selection of meeting rooms that can be booked by local organisations as well as occupiers. Other benefits include on-site car parking and child care provided by the Little Dots Daycare nursery.

The new occupiers range from early stage to more established local businesses:




  • Redwood Accountancy a new company providing accountancy services to businesses and individuals.

  • Do Care a family run business that offers home support and domiciliary care services. Founded as a result of the founders own experiences of sourcing care for an elderly relative, the company prides itself on providing high quality, personalised care and is a recent winner in the Great British Care Awards 2012. Do Care will be launching a new home care service for older people in the Witney area in the New Year.

  • The Oxford Limousine Company a ten year old firm that provides a variety of limousines for occasions from Ascot to proms, weddings and corporate events.

  • Just One Wordsmith a new copywriting and marketing consultancy

  • Swift Consulting Services a new business services consultancy



Witney Business and Innovation Centre is the latest business initiative from Blenheim Palace through its estate arm which manages over 600,000 sq ft of commercial property across Oxfordshire and a significant residential and agricultural portfolio. John Hoy, chief executive of Blenheim Palace, said: We are committed to supporting the growth of local businesses as they are absolutely key to the sustainable growth of our local economy. We have been delighted by the positive response to Witney Business and Innovation Centre which already looks set to become a thriving hub for entrepreneurs and businesses in West Oxfordshire. Witney Business and Innovation Centre is one of seven centres that Oxford Innovation manages in the county and part of a network of 21 centres stretching from Portsmouth to Yorkshire used by over 500 companies. Chris Allington, managing director of Oxford Innovations business and innovation centres division, said: We are delighted to be working in partnership with Blenheim on the Witney Business and Innovation Centre and enjoying strong support from key stakeholder organisations particularly West Oxfordshire District Council. Our ambition is for this centre to become a focal point for enterprise and a generator of local employment we estimate that the centre should create around 290 jobs.

Centre director, Margaret Hewitt, said: We are delighted to welcome our first clients to Witney Business and Innovation Centre and our team is looking forward to supporting the growth of their businesses. I am very pleased by the strong take up of offices we have experienced and the continuing interest. We have a good pipeline of enquiries from prospective occupiers and I welcome further enquiries from companies interested in finding out more about the range of offices and support that we offer.

Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member for Local Economy at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: Supporting West Oxfordshire's economy to remain prosperous with full employment is a key priority for the Council and so we are delighted that the new Witney Business and Innovation Centre is now open and welcoming its first occupiers. Set up in a prime commercial location, the Centre offers small businesses help with accessing funding and advice so that they can succeed and grow.

For Do Care, the business and innovation centre is the base from which they will soon launch a new home care service for older people in West Oxfordshire. Steve Mills, managing director of Do Care, said: We have been awarded a contract to work with Oxfordshire County Council to support older people in their own homes and we are developing relationships with local GP practices, social workers and other health professionals. We chose to locate at the Witney Business and Innovation Centre due to its superb location with good ease of access, combined with the flexible letting terms on offer and access to professional training rooms. We are currently recruiting a team of dedicated home care workers and will be launching our new home care service for older people in the Witney area in the New Year. We are building the branch up steadily, ensuring that the high quality ethos we have developed in our existing teams is transferred to the new team in Witney.

Miles Hoare, founder of Just One Wordsmith and a trained screenwriter, is taking his new copywriting and marketing consultancy from his home office into the Centre.

Mr Hoare said: I have built up a set of clients and toyed with the idea of moving the business from home for a while but always found the process of renting office space confusing and expensive. Also being a one-man-band, finding the right space wasnt easy. Oxford Innovation simplified the process - all prices were explained and include the benefits of services provided by the Centre. I want a more professional feel to my business and I think that joining the Centre will really make a difference! Over the coming year, I plan to take on a couple of graduates or fellow freelancers. This will also enable me to focus more on my passion for theatre and film.

The Oxford Limousine Company is branching out into the vintage wedding cars market and its beautiful 1920s Regent semi-convertible car is proving particularly popular. The other area of expansion is in the business market where a business class level mini-coach is available to take teams to events and courses. Director, Stephen Clarke, said: We are growing our operation so we needed a professional environment in a good location and the Business and Innovation Centre fits the bill perfectly. We have done a lot of extra business since moving in here.

Stephen Smedley, founder of Redwood Accountancy, runs a two man business and has built up a solid client list. He said: The Centre provides my firm with a high quality office whilst enabling me to keep my overheads low, as the letting rates are competitive and include all services. This means I can continue to offer cost effective accountancy services to my clients.

With the addition of Witney Business and Innovation Centre, Oxford Innovation manages 21 business and innovation centres in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Greater London, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire for clients ranging from property developers, pension funds and trusts to local authorities and research establishments. Companies interested in finding out more about Witney Business and Innovation Centre or arranging a visit should contact Margaret Hewitt, centre director, on Tel: 01993 848200, email: m.hewitt@oxin.co.uk

About Witney Business and Innovation Centre

Witney Business and Innovation Centre provides offices, hot desking areas, meeting rooms and conference facilities. The business and innovation centre is located at the entrance to the Windrush Industrial Park at two miles from Witney, the principal town in West Oxfordshire, and benefits from ample parking. There is excellent access to the A40 and A4095 connecting to the national road network (M40 and A34 in 20 minutes). Offices are available in a range of unit sizes from 100 sq ft to 3,000 sq ft and can be let on flexible licence agreements so that clients are free of any long term letting commitments. The centre also offers a virtual office service for entrepreneurs that require a professional address and telephone answering service. For more information: www.witney-bic.co.uk

About Oxford Innovation

Oxford Innovation is a leading operator of business and innovation centres that provide office and laboratory space to companies throughout the UK. The company also provides innovation services to entrepreneurs, including business planning advice, coaching and mentoring.

Oxford Innovation also manages three highly successful investment networks that link investors with entrepreneurs seeking funding from 20,000 to 2m. During the last five years, the investment networks have helped over 90 companies raise 19.5m. For more information: www.oxin.co.uk Oxford Innovation is part of SQW Group. Other divisions and associated companies include SQW, a leading provider of research, analysis and advice on sustainable economic and social development solutions to the public and private sectors, and SQW China, which operates from Hong Kong providing economic and management consultancy services to China and the international market. For more information: www.sqwgroup.com

About Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is widely regarded as one of Britains greatest palaces and is home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, the birthplace of Winston Churchill and a World Heritage site. Located at Woodstock, Oxfordshire, the Palace is surrounded by over 2,000 acres of landscaped parkland incorporating the great lake, designed by Capability Brown and formal gardens. It is a world renowned visitor attraction with around half a million people visiting every year. For more information: www.blenheimpalace.com


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