New entrepreneurs walk in Brunel’s footsteps

A new generation of visionaries is moving in to Swindon’s historic Carriage Works, once the familiar stomping ground of the pioneering Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The 200-year-old buildings, opposite the Mechanics’ Institute, have been transformed into Workshed, offering state-of-the-art office space to entrepreneurs.

Swindon-based social media agency SocMedSup.com is among those who have moved in.

The firm, which is celebrating its second birthday, has already worked with such high-profile clients such as GlaxoSmithKline, Samsung, Mont Blanc and Park Hyatt.

And the heritage story lies not just in the building, but in the people as well. SocMedSup.com’s founder Alex Pollock is the fourth generation on his mother’s side to work in Brunel’s world-renowned railway work sheds.

While the railways enabled the rapid growth of the industrial revolution, today’s digital companies are revolutionising the way people work, communicate, market and buy products in a data-driven age.

Alex started his social media and content marketing company two years ago with one employee and now has a team of 15. Typical of today’s entrepreneurs, he ran the business out of co-working office space in London and Swindon to keep overheads down. However, when he attended a Switch On To Swindon event at The Carriage Works in June, he was inspired.

He said: “Co-working served us very well as a start-up because it offered flexibility for project work. We could expand and contract with extra staff while we proved ourselves, but we outgrew that space.

“Now we have a significant portfolio of clients with regular work, we need the professionalism of our own place for client meetings and to invite potential clients for pitches. Workshed’s environment and location are perfect because it’s easy to catch a train to London to see clients, as well as fairly close to Bath where we have several.

“The creative and digital environment at Workshed is perfect. It’s great value for money and the underpass to the Swindon Outlet Village keeps staff happy!”

Workshed’s centre manager Jol Rose said: “SocMedSup.com is an ideal tenant for our Growth Hub because it’s exactly the kind of fast-growing digital company we want to attract. We have three offices remaining, with co-working desk capacity for 150 people and if companies are looking to move, I’ll be happy to show directors round any time by appointment.”

For more information, visit www.theworkshed.co.uk. To book a personal tour, email Jolyon.Rose@wiltshire.gov.uk or call 01793 230322.

Pictured above: The SocMedSup.com team, from left, MD Alex Pollock, creative director Ali Whelehan and content director Jake Ford, in Workshed’s co-working space

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