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Bristol's Brunel heritage offers cutting-edge potential

It’s the place where Brunel did some of his most creative thinking 175 years ago; today, Brunel’s original train station, which was once the focus of cutting-edge 19th century technology, is playing host to a new generation of high-tech entrepreneurs.

Bristol’s Grade I-listed Engine Shed, built by the famous engineer, has been sympathetically restored, preserving its historic character while transforming it into a 21st century space for high-tech and digital businesses and a stunning showcase for potential investors in the region.

It serves as a prime example of the way the Bristol and Bath region is constantly adapting to meet the needs of its thriving hub of business and innovation.

Located in the heart of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, which is recognised by government as having the most potential for growth of anywhere in the UK, Engine Shed provides a series of diverse spaces, completely transforming the nature of the existing building while retaining the scale and grandeur of the original.

World beater

Engine Shed is a great Bristol success story. It is home to SETsquared, Europe’s number one business incubator and the world’s number two, as recognised by the University Business Incubator Index.

“Engine Shed is a great Bristol success story”

The building is currently full, and, along with other hubs in the region including Bath Coworking Hub, the Centre for Digital Entertainment and Bristol Games Hub, Engine Shed is looking to deliver Engine Shed 2 to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs and creative talent in Bristol and Bath.

Engine Shed 2 will build on the success of Engine Shed 1, which already benefits from £4m of public sector funding ready to pump-prime the project.

However, the project is just part of a rich seam of investment and development opportunities within the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, which is set to be boosted by the coming electrification of the main railway line from London to Bristol.

“It’s an exciting time for the Bristol and Bath region”

The £700m investment, which will cut 20 minutes from the current journey time, will include the transformation of the Temple Meads station.

In addition to this will be the spectacular new 12,000 Bristol Arena, currently the subject of an international design competition led by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

It’s an exciting time for the Bristol and Bath region; it is already a world leader in many respects, but with its bold and entrepreneurial approach to generating prosperity and growth, I’m certain the future is looking even brighter.

Matthew Cross is head of inward investment at Invest Bristol & Bath

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