Bedford i-Worx, created to enable engineering, tech entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive in preparation for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, was officially opened on Monday (27 January) at the new Bedford Commercial Park.
The project is a partnership between Bedford Borough Council and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP). The occasion was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Mayor Dave Hodgson and Peter Horrocks CBE, SEMLEP’s Chair.
The i-Worx features an advanced Technology and Engineering Workshop Cluster offering twelve modern, office and industrial units, which will form part of the new Bedford Commercial Park.
This cluster is designed with advanced engineering and technology businesses in mind. With the emerging Oxford-Cambridge Arc, Bedford Borough Council are targeting and supporting businesses ready to build and grow in our area.
i-Worx joins the suite of i-Brand premises, including i-Lab, i-Kan and i-Hub, owned and run by Bedford Borough Council, providing business space to small and medium sized companies.
Bedford Commercial Park is a 45-acre mixed use development owned and managed by global property firm Goodman, adjacent to the A421.
Its first phase has seen the completion of a 407,143 sq ft logistics warehouse, with further development of the site set to create up to 1,600 jobs.
One of the twelve bespoke technology and engineering workshop units will be dedicated as an education and training facility to help inspire the next generation of students and help prepare people with the technical skills for these kinds of businesses.
This will be available for local schools and educational institutions when it becomes operational later this year.
During the event, SEMLEP also launched their new Growth Curve Initiative, a fully-funded programme for high growth businesses in the area.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said, “Businesses are already signed up and set to move into a number of these spaces, and it’s fantastic to see this site now open and ready for business.
“Bedford Borough Council and our partners are committed to investing in our local economy, infrastructure, and training to ensure we continue to grow and create jobs here.”
Peter Horrocks CBE, Chair of SEMLEP added, “Having good quality and flexible commercial space available for businesses is a prerequisite for a successful business environment.
“That’s why SEMLEP has invested in i-Worx through the Local Growth Fund, to support technology and engineering business success and contribute towards making Bedford and the wider South East Midlands region an even more attractive place for companies to collaborate, innovate and succeed.
“I’m delighted to take this opportunity today to officially launch our new business support offer designed specifically to meet the needs of fast-growing businesses in the area.
“Through ‘Growth Curve’, companies can work directly with business specialists from three of our area’s universities, tapping into expertise to help shape their long-term future.”
Working in partnership with Bedford Borough Council, Goodman integrated the i-Worx development into the wider business park.
Nigel Dolan, Development Director at Goodman, said, “We’re proud to have worked with the Council on this cutting edge, innovation-focused development.
“In helping the next generation of technology and engineering businesses thrive and grow, i-Worx aligns with our global aim of delivering high quality space in the very best locations.
“The 12-unit scheme also supports our wider vision for Bedford Commercial Park, which will provide a hub for business in one of the most significant growth areas in the UK.
“Companies are set to benefit from the opportunities for collaboration and growth generated by combining industrial, logistics and business space within a quality landscaped park environment that promotes health and wellbeing.”