A business centre funded by ERDF to support small companies with potential for rapid growth in Liverpool is planned for the Albert Dock.
The deal being discussed would see a five-year sub-lease agreed with existing tenant Littlewoods Organisation, owned by the Barclays brothers, who have other companies in their group based in the dock, including parcel delivery business Yodel.
Completion is dependent on final approval from the European Regional Development Fund for a £2.4m grant for the Project Enterprise Village, which would occupy the fourth floor of Atlantic Pavilion, currently on the market at a quoting rent of £13/sq ft. The Littlewoods Organisation was acquired by the Barclays in 2002 for £750m. Littlewoods has 10 years left on its lease.
Shazan Qureshi, director of Team Rejuvenate, a business consultancy with bases in Liverpool and Manchester, is putting the project together. He said the ERDF cash would be matched by a mixture of public and private sources including Team Rejuvenate, Liverpool City Council and professional services suppliers involved in the business village. The Liverpool arm of the Team Rejuvenate is headed by Nicola Gleave, former head of entrepreneurship at the council's economic development agency, Liverpool Vision.
All being well, Project Enterprise Village is due to open in August for a two-year delivery programme. CBRE is advising the Littlewoods Organisation.
The business plan for Project Enterprise Village says it will support the growth of 200 pre-start enterprises of which 15 will be high growth enterprises achieving £750,000 turnover and creating a total of 105 jobs by the end of year two. There will be support for 100 pre-start enterprises by the end of the project, providing 15 hours of assistance each directly and creating 30 jobs by the end of year one. The overall forecast increase to the gross value added economic measure across Merseyside is £10m a year.
The Albert Dock base will be "a sustainable dynamic high-growth business hub, creating a cluster of associated businesses and encouraging cross-sector collaborations and commercial partnerships".
Tenants will have access to advice from "specialist consultants from national and internationally experienced companies. These specialists will provide advice, contacts and access to networks in every area of business need that supports high growth, including. The project will look to create and utilise existing trade links with the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa not only through private sector links, but through the Merseyside higher education national and international networks.
"The village itself will create an environment that will encourage knowledge transfer between the tenants, professionals and start-ups."