Working at Harborough Innovation Centre has lots of operational advantages for our businesses. 

But sometimes we forget that there are less immediately obvious benefits to being part of the community here.

Steve Chapman, Tina Gagg and Ollie Chapman of Swordfish Marketing have been here for four years now, during which they’ve come to appreciate what makes the centre special. Steve originally moved into the shared office for three weeks to try it out. In no time at all, he felt that HIC was a place he could do business. He appreciates the building as a place of work, of course, but points to other benefits that he didn’t anticipate.

Firstly, there’s the networking side of things. “We’ve ended up doing quite a few collaborations with other people in the building,” he said. “One of the earliest was with Matt Anslow, our resident GDPR expert when he was first here. We were able to bounce a few ideas off him and he’s helped us out and helped our clients out.” Other HIC residents that Swordfish has worked with include accountants Mayfield & Co, CAP Awards, Code String, Octagon and Kemsley & Company.

For Steve, the cafe is at the heart of the network, making it one of the most important parts of the building. “You can’t underestimate the importance of the cafe as a hub,” he said. “It’s more than just a place to grab some food. It creates opportunities. What you come to recognise if you sit in the cafe long enough, is that it’s the centre’s version of Piccadilly Circus. Stay there long enough and you’ll meet everyone.” Swordfish has even won business from an external customer thanks to being in the cafe!

The reception team are also a great help, he said. “Being able to ask the centre team if there’s anyone here who does a certain type of job is very helpful. And there usually is. We’ve also been the beneficiary of people asking that question then arriving at our door.”

Tina contrasted HIC to some other shared office spaces they’ve visited: “When we’ve been to visit them, you find that the people on reception often don’t know much about who’s in the building. So the support of the reception team here makes a real difference.”

Add in the range of events that the centre offers, which offer practical business advice and more networking opportunities, and you can see why the centre has grown to house so many companies, and why we’re looking at adding even more space in future.

Harborough Innovation Centre is owned and supported by Harborough District Council (HDC). As the building owner, HDC also funds the Centre’s business support provision, providing the basis for expert business advice, mentoring and workshops.