The Marlowe Innovation Centre in Ramsgate has marked a milestone anniversary this month of 15 years since its opening in 2008.
The centre was designed to offer affordable accommodation to businesses on easy-in, easy-out terms. A wide range of accommodation is available, with short term license agreements that offer flexibility, particularly to new businesses.
Since its establishment in 2008, it has become a hive of activity housing various businesses from accountants to web designers and everything in between.
The centre is currently fully occupied with a waiting list of prospective clients.
Accommodation ranges from light industrial units, that can also be used as large offices for around ten people, to smaller offices that accommodate up to five people. The centre also has meeting rooms, a networking café, an atrium area that is useful for breakout sessions, receptions or exhibitions, two accessible washrooms and a wheelchair accessible lift to reach the first floor. It is base to more than 45 businesses and hosts many external meetings, hot desking and offers virtual services.
The £2.5 million centre was made possible by funding form The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Coastal Communities Fund, Kent County Council, Thanet District Council, European Regional Development Fund and the East Kent Partnership.
The first phase of the building cost £1.67 million and was built with cash from the European Regional Development Fund (£584,360), Kent County Council (£500,000), The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust (£468,720), Thanet District Council (£100,000) and East Kent Partnership (£20,000).
The second phase, costing just under £1 million, was funded by a further contribution from The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust of £649,488, with the balance of £349,724 coming from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.
The success of the centre led to the addition of an extension in 2014, doubling its capacity.
MIC also has a close relationship with neighbouring Royal Harbour Academy, with hundreds of students taking part in joint activities over the years. Collaboration has included work placements, mock interviews, tuition in CV writing and mentoring.
The 15th anniversary was celebrated with a gathering of tenants both past and present at the centre earlier this month.