PUKAAR MAGAZINE SITS DOWN WITH LEICESTER CITY COUNCIL’S, PETER CHANDLER TO DISCUSS THE EVER-GROWING AVAILABILITY FOR BUSINESSES TO START AND DEVELOP IN THE CITY AND THEIR LATEST WORKSPACE PROjECT, DOCK.
Celebrating its tenth year in business next year, the LCB Depot has grown from strength to strength turning Leicester’s Cultural Quarter into a hub of creative commerce.
LCB Depot is one of three workspaces in the city, the other two being Phoenix Square and Maker’s Yard, in the last 9 years, they have steadily built a community of over 100 businesses with a further 50 to be based at the new site Dock, opening this October in Pioneer Park.
Dock provides space for companies in sectors other than the creative industry and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Leicester City Council. Peter Chandler, the Creative Workspace Development Manager tells us, “It came about through seeing if you were a start-up technology company or if you need laboratory space, or you are an innovative engineering company, where would you go?”
As well as providing a home to companies, LCB Depot focuses on providing networking opportunities, coaching and start-up programmes, Peter said “We’re always in discussion with companies about what needs to be in place to help them develop their business.”
There is an eclectic and hugely successful mix of companies housed within these buildings as Peter explains, “We’ve got over 120 businesses currently trading from our work spaces and that’s going to grow with the opening of Dock, upwardly within the next three years I think we’re going to see 200 businesses working from our locations.”
These spaces do not only signify an innovative move into the future of business, they proudly pay honour to their heritage. Opening in 2012 Makers Yard, a restored former textile factory, provided a workspace for ceramic and glass manufacturers to furniture designers. The building holds 10 studios and Peter tells us, “This was a place in the 1850s and 60s where domestic knitters came together to make and sell their work, and 150 years later we wanted to recreate that for the 21st century.”
The main focus of these workspaces is to attract companies who are able to create high value jobs, allowing Leicester to compete with other cities in the UK who are renowned for business development. “I’d like to see over the next 5 years Leicester being the place where knowledge economy businesses are being successful, there’s no reason why that can’t happen. Leicester’s got everything going for it; we have a diverse community and is a growing city.” Already in the works are plans to provide space such as a Food Park for small manufacturing businesses and companies who wish to expand their space. “The work doesn’t stop because we’re aiming to ensure that Leicester is the place to start up and grow a knowledge economy business.”