57 new jobs at Innovation Factory signalling return of business confidence

Fifty-seven new jobs have been created at Innovation Factory in Belfast as companies adopt new ways of working to face up to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Springfield Road business centre had an unprecedented 60% increase in enquiries for flexible, hybrid working options as business confidence returns.

Centre Director Majella Barkley said: “This surge of interest signals a growing confidence by businesses as they look for new ways to bring their teams together again. Companies are looking for flexibility, shorter lease requirements and the ability to scale up or down quickly.”

In the past two months, the centre has seen 11 businesses move in while five existing companies have expanded rapidly, growing their teams as they scale up to bigger premises within the building.

Innovation Factory

One of the new businesses, estate agency McAteer Solutions, moved to Innovation Factory as the company expands into the Belfast property market. With offices in Dungiven and Toomebridge, the company was ready for growth.

Company founder Olga McAteer explained: “’Our philosophy is to locate away from the high street in order to offer our customers easy, free parking whilst also challenging the conventional way of selling property in today’s market.  Our forward thinking and straight-talking business etiquette lies at the heart of everything we do and helps us to be successful throughout the whole of Northern Ireland.”

For Steve Geary of graphic design agency, Forme Studio, the time was right to move out of the home office and into a dedicated work space. His business is growing and he’s hoping to employ an additional designer and a junior soon.

“I was working from an office in my back garden but lockdown changed my opinion of working from home; I realised how much I missed seeing other people and getting out to work. I chose Innovation Factory because I loved the space, which is ideal for meetings with clients. There’s such an interesting mix of other businesses with the potential to collaborate on projects,” he said.

Innovation Factory is owned by Belfast City Council and operated on their behalf by Oxford Innovation. The £9.1m business hub was funded by Belfast City Council and Invest NI with support from the European Regional Development Fund.

As well as providing jobs and developing entrepreneurship in West Belfast, the centre is dedicated to engaging with the local community through outreach programmes, education, and work placements.

Customers include a range of start-ups and growing businesses in a variety of sectors including digital services, creative industries, business services, financial services and research and development.

For more information on the Innovation Factory visit: www.innovationfactoryni.com

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