Executive Member for Economic Development at Hampshire County Council, Councillor Mel Kendal said: “The award is a great tribute to the success of the Aldershot Enterprise Centre, in supporting local economic prosperity, and the wider Hampshire economy.
“I am proud of the role played by Hampshire County Council and its partner organisations in being catalysts in the Enterprise Centre’s foundation, and wish it continued success in promoting entrepreneurial activity”.
The award for Building Enterprise Skills is in recognition of achievements in providing business start-up space for the military and local communities to establish and grow new businesses in Aldershot and the surrounding area. Since the Enterprise Centre opened, over 40 new businesses have been created resulting in over 80 new jobs for ex-military personnel and other local people.
Working in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and WSX Enterprise, Hampshire County Council was instrumental in the centre’s development. In 2014, the County Council invested an initial grant of £160,000 which enabled Mandora House, a former Officers’ Mess, to be refurbished into the business start-up centre. In addition to providing office space, the Centre offers a full range of business support services including business mentoring, seminars and links to support services including the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub.
Hampshire-based WSX Enterprise has operated the centre since it opened. The combination of the centre’s heritage, transition to new use and the range of services WSX provides, has created an environment buzzing with entrepreneurial activity.
Peter Grant, Chief Executive of WSX Enterprise who runs the Centre said:
“We are extremely pleased to have achieved national recognition for our work in Aldershot. Our partnership with the County Council and Enterprise M3 LEP, has allowed us to move forward on delivering real enterprise support in Rushmoor and provided a fantastic facility for local people in the area.
“With offices available from £35 per week, and a wide range of business support services within the Centre, Aldershot Enterprise Centre offers a cost effective way for new entrepreneurs to take their first steps in starting a new business venture.”
The success of the support programme quickly led to increased demand, and in 2016, WSX Enterprise successfully secured funding from the Enterprise M3 LEP to expand the Enterprise Centre into St Anne’s House, the adjacent wing of the building.
The full range of business support services includes 1:1 business mentoring and advice, business seminars covering key topics for business growth, office space, and links to support services including the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub.