Leamington chosen for new business programme

Warwick-Uni-1 Mill Street

A new co-working space has opened in Leamington.

1 Mill Street is working with the University of Warwick, BT and Warwickshire County Council as part of the university’s Creative Futures Incubator initiative, which is helping to educate and incubate start-up businesses in a bid to support the largest creative cluster outside of Greater London.

Over the next 12 months ten new businesses, in two groups of five selected by the University of Warwick, will have access to the offices, meeting spaces and collaboration networks at 1 Mill Street, which is based on the corner of Mill Street and Leam Terrace.

As part of the partnership, each business in the Creative Futures Incubator will be given six months of free access to 1 Mill Street in order to work with the University to develop their business. This will include weekly coaching sessions, access to enterprise experts and mentors and the ability to network and learn from other businesses in the Incubator and Mill Street members.

Each start-up will be able to benefit from the transformation of the 12,000 sq ft Victorian building into a modern creative enterprise hub, incorporating flexible offices, dedicated desks and hot-desking, a video and sound studio, The Muse Coffeehouse, meeting areas and a world-class events space. 

The Creative Futures Incubator will now also offer cutting-edge 5G enterprise technology recently introduced to 1 Mill Street through the University’s alliance with BT and Warwickshire County Council. 

Those moving into the new community hub include brand and digital content agency – Blunt & Brave, content creation company – Common Story, arts and creative production company – Creative Leamington, sustainable eyewear manufacturer – Icycle, and a community-driven a cappella organisation called Open A cappella. 

Other standalone businesses, already based at 1 Mill Street, are being offered access to the University of Warwick’s business support and careers advice expertise. 

Rachel Davis, Director of Warwick Enterprise at the University of Warwick, said: “1 Mill Street offers a glimpse into the collaborative nature of the future working world, and the time these micro-businesses spend here will no doubt serve as a launchpad for them to grow their organisations further.

“Starting a business is challenging and practical experience is vital in the early stages, so learning from other businesses – which they will be doing on a near daily basis at 1 Mill Street – combined with guidance and mentoring from University staff will stand these entrepreneurs in good stead for the future.

“This is also the first time that the University of Warwick will have had a physical presence in the heart of Leamington, and we are really excited to be involved in developing a community at 1 Mill Street. 

“This new presence is a fantastic addition to the Warwick Innovation District, a large, open innovation ecosystem, powered by the University of Warwick; the District enables collaboration, networking, innovation and business growth to occur with a physical footprint stretching from the University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire, through Leamington to Wellesbourne.”  

Nigel Shanahan, founder of 1 Mill Street, added: “This partnership with the University of Warwick helps to build upon the broad variety of organisations that we have operating out of the complex – not just in terms of their sectors, but also the varying stages of development that they are at.

“We are creating a hub where organisations can develop by supporting each other – an approach that is needed now more than ever given the wider economic climate.

“The interest that we have had in 1 Mill Street so far has been phenomenal, and underlines just what an exciting project we are building here for Leamington and the wider region.”