The University of Bristol’s business incubator has been awarded the Business Incubator Design award for the newly opened Engine Shed by industry body UK Business Incubation (UKBI).

Bristol SETsquared won the accolade in the annual awards in recognition of the highly-connected location, the entrepreneurial heritage of the building, and the “oxygen supply” created by the businesses using the Engine Shed.

It’s part of the national SETsquared Partnership – a collaboration between the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, which partners enterprise activities and supports the growth and success of new business opportunities through spin-outs, licencing, incubation and education.  The partnership also works with industry through research collaboration and consultancy.

The new enterprise hub based at Brunel’s Engine Shed in Temple Meads was opened last Monday by Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, Bristol’s Mayor George Ferguson and Professor Sir Eric Thomas, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol.

As one of the world’s most connected enterprise hubs, experts predict it will create 5,000 jobs in the technology, creative and low carbon sectors in the next 15 years.

This calendar year, Bristol SETsquared member companies have raised £35million of debt, equity and grant funding, which is more than the last three years put together.

Nick Sturge, Director of the Engine Shed, said: “When we moved the Bristol SETsquared Centre from the University precinct to Engine Shed we took some risks, as our client startup companies have to do day in, day out. By putting design first – again, as our client companies have to do to succeed – we have created a new home which is significantly greater than that which we had before. Being a part of the Engine Shed ‘buzz’ only adds to the superb environment we have created. We are honoured to receive this award on behalf of the design team.”

The SETsquared Partnership was also the recipient of an UKBI industry award, being named as the Business Incubation Champion.

This completes a memorable year for the partnership which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary.

In July, the University Business Incubator Index listed the SETsquared incubator group as the best in Europe, jointly placed with NDRC LaunchPad in the Republic of Ireland.  This ranks SETsquared fourth in the world.

Then in November, the Partnership staged the Accelerating Growth event in Westminster, to celebrate SETsquared’s record of incubating more than 1,000 technology companies, which have attracted around £1billion of investment and created a significant number of high value jobs.

SETsquared Partnership Director, Graham Harrison, said: “This is a fitting way to end what has been a fantastic year for SETsquared.  Recognition from our industry for the quality and national significance of the fine work taking place across our five sites, day in day out, is a source of genuine pride.”