Fareham Borough Council has been awarded the Most Innovative Small Business Friendly Programme, Campaign or Project at the 2015 Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Wessex Regional Local Authority Small Business Friendly Awards.
The Council has won the award for its work on the Innovation Centre at the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus. The £5.3m facility contains office space and workshops for new businesses with a focus on the engineering, aerospace, aviation and marine industries.
The construction of the building was completed in less than 10 months, and with only five months into its operation, the Centre has exceeded an occupancy level of 50%. 11 businesses have moved into the Centre, providing 43 FTE jobs.
Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Conservative Cllr Seán Woodward, said: "It is a great honour to receive this award which has only been made possible thanks to the hard work that everyone involved has put in to the Innovation Centre. It has been a great success in its first year and we look forward to supporting even more small businesses in the future by providing them with facilities and services to help them achieve great things."
Stephen Brownlie, Senior Centre Manager, said: "The centre is already 50% full, with a strong number of enquiries, including from businesses with links to the marine, automotive, aerospace and aviation sectors. We're proud to be supporting a thriving entrepreneurial community, one which is generating local jobs and economic growth."
Neil Eames, FSB Development Manager said: "Our FSB Small Business Friendly Awards aim to recognise, and publically acknowledge, the significant work undertaken by Local Authorities, in supporting the micro and small business community.
"Small businesses are vital to the local economy, and council support is essential. We are delighted to present the award for the Most Innovative 'Small Business Friendly' Programme, Project or Campaign to Fareham Borough Council for their work on the Fareham Innovation Centre at Solent Enterprise Zone, which provides 'state of the art' small business support and facilities, and an innovative environment in which new businesses can be supported to prosper and grow. It is very encouraging to see such great efforts from local councils to help stimulate and provide an impetus to the British economy through small businesses."
The award follows the success of the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST), also at the Enterprise Zone at Daedalus, who won the award for Best Educational Building at the South East Building Excellence Awards earlier this year.