Should Staffordshire University Business Village be hosting a number of mortgage/financial advisory companies, some trading under several names?
The original rationale behind the project was for postgraduate students launching their own businesses to have low-cost facilities to help them get started, I’m not certain we have a single ex-student company using these facilities.
Surely it’d now make greater financial sense, given the very low rents we charge for the units and the failure of the original project aims, for the university to now remove the business units and use these facilities for teaching/staff office space?
Thank you for your interest in the Business Villages. We host a variety of businesses based upon an entry and exit policy which creates a diverse community of clients,including business and professional services, and graduate start-up companies should they choose to occupy these premises. This delivers a business service on campus, a client base of Small and Medium Enterprises, and a focus for our knowledge exchange and Working with Business engagement strategies.
Since the opening of the Business Villages, we have supported 71 student companies with their physical space requirements.
We have not failed in this respect and many of the student companies now choose to occupy space in the City and beyond (BIC, Hot House, Lightwood Works, Keele Science Park, Federation House and Media City).
Many local and international,visitors, including specialists in incubation and enterprise, comment on the vibrancy and the diversity of activity in the Business Villages that a mixed economy of mature and established business co-located alongside new start-ups can stimulate, including opportunities for mentoring and inter-trading.
The mix of student enterprises and the availability of funding for subsidised rent has changed over the course of the years and many companies now operate entirely online or are more creative in nature and require studio/work space rather than office space.
Currently there are four ex-students in Stoke Business Village and six in Stafford Business Village. We recently had 16 current and former students working from the Creative Village, prior to its closure in February in order to accommodate teaching facilities and staff relocating from Stafford.
Historically there has been an average of four students per year in Stoke Business Village over the last three years, and seven students in Stafford each year for the last three years.
The use of all space including the Business Villages is currently under review as part of the Estates Strategy.
Enterprise and Commercial Development, the Faculty of Business Education and Law and Campus and Commercial Services already use the Business Village as office space, thus freeing up teaching and office space elsewhere for other staff, for example, B184 in Brindley will shortly be vacated by staff relocating to the Business Village leaving the room ready to be re-purposed for Teaching.