Tech hub now generating £27m a year for local economy as collaboration takes off

For entrepreneurs it is the Holy Grail: unlocking the secret to making their fortune.  Many spend their careers in search of it, devouring self-help books and the sage words of business gurus.

And yet the answer is remarkably simple, says the team behind thriving technology incubator The Base in Warrington: get on with your neighbours.

Specifically, it is a willingness to collaborate with them on shared opportunities that can propel mutual business growth and success.

And, says Sylvie Morton, the Business Development Manager at the Dallam Lane hub, it’s as easy as bumping into people in the corridor.  The challenge lies in carefully curating the culture and environment of a workspace to encourage it – and she can point to £27m economic impact at The Base last year to prove it works.

“We put huge effort into a programme of events, workshops, guest speakers and advisory sessions to help our tenants get to know one another and unlock their collective potential by working together,” says Mrs Morton of Langtree, which manages the 50,000 sq ft development for Warrington & Co.

“It’s part of The Base’s DNA now and new tenants join us fully expecting to plug into it.  We have developed a thriving eco-system and more than fifty per cent of our tenants collaborate on shared projects.  Last year the economic impact of our tenants’ work was £27m when their supply chain spending was factored in.”

It’s not a one-way street either, says Morton.  “Our tenants are inquisitive by nature so they seek out people who they can work with on problems and opportunities.  We also have a Partners programme, with leading business advisors on hand to help.”

Tenant Pixel Tree is working with neighbour Ixis on a collaborative project to support major digital campaigns for clients and boss James Hamilton says the collaboration has extended both their commercial reach and the scope and scale of work they can deliver for clients.

“Being in a place with people around us that can add breadth and depth to our service offer has proven hugely useful,” says James. “We’re adding great value to our clients and the extra work means we’re recruiting more staff.”

Steve Park, the head of Warrington’s private sector-led economic development agency, Warrington & Co, says The Base is one of a number of sector-specific clusters in the town that have helped it ride out various economic storms.

“Encouraging clusters, as we have in the nuclear sector, technology and advanced manufacturing is key to strengthening Warrington’s economy and infusing it with a dynamism that will ensure it remains adaptable and competitive.

“We have more than 4,500 staff in the nuclear sector, a further 8,500 in advanced manufacturing and around 2,500 in technology and IT, to which The Base is making a significant contribution.  Across all three we see examples of collaboration under-pinning their growth.  We aim to sustain that long into the future.”

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