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Airports as innovation hubs

Above: interior of the new innovation workspace - Launchpad - at Southend Airport (from BDP)

How can airports be used as new places for innovation? This will be part of our new districts discussion this month.

Southend on Sea City Council recently opened an innovative business hub and workplace at Airport Business Park in Southend.

The new building, designed by a multidisciplinary team from BDP has been named Launchpad and will provide high quality, serviced office space and business support for small and medium enterprises in Southend-on-Sea, Rochford and the surrounding area.

The council has been working with organisations interested in occupying space at Launchpad, to fill the building with innovative businesses which fit the criteria to bring business growth, discovery, innovation and collaboration to the region.

BDP describes the project:

'Oxford Innovation Space becomes the first business to set up its services in the workspace and will be responsible for managing the operations, helping to attract further companies to build an environment where aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up businesses can co-locate, establish themselves, share ideas, network and flourish.

'Commissioned by Southend on Sea City Council, Launchpad is a highly-sustainable, three-storey business hub designed to meet BREEAM Outstanding and the highest level of sustainability to support the council’s climate change agenda. The building attracted South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Local Growth Fund and Nature Smart Cities funding through the European Union.

'It brings more than 2,300 square metres of office and workshop space which will encourage collaborative and creative business activity, attracting start-ups, small to medium-sized enterprise companies and business park occupiers from the region. The building provides a range of business-critical facilities including a workplace nucleus, individual office spaces, conference and meeting suites, a café and eatery and external seating and collaboration areas.'

James Baker, lead architect and Principal at BDP, said:

'Launchpad is a highly flexible, sustainable incubator building which is designed to foster collaboration between innovative businesses. As a business hub, it ensures a true platform for creating growth in the region in a building that aligns with the latest sustainable thinking and design. It is an exemplar workplace project, not just for Essex but for the UK, and we are incredibly proud of what has been achieved. We are sure that Oxford Innovation and all the future tenants will be delighted with their new home.'


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