A £6.5m Newcastle enterprise centre has confirmed it is almost at full occupancy just two years after opening.
The Beacon, based on Westgate Road, Newcastle, has proved popular with new and established firms looking for work space.
The eco-friendly centre, funded by two charities, Centre West and Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN), offers a variety of different units including desk-a-day portals, workshops and conference facilities.
Among the businesses using The Beacon are Creative Ginger, a team of visual artists, engineering firm Siemens and Noor Couture, an Indian ladies fashion business.
Andrew Watts, executive director of Groundwork STAN, said he hoped 100% occupancy would soon be a reality.
He added: “The Beacon is a tremendously important and thriving enterprise centre on many levels.
“The success we have seen from occupancy uptake quite clearly shows how well it is fulfilling a very important role for a variety of North East businesses who want to be part of an extremely dynamic yet affordable place to grow.
“But it is not just the superb facilities that make them come here, for they also receive incredible back-up and support by our staff whenever it is needed.”
Andy Morley, owner at Creative Ginger, who moved into the centre after starting his business at home, said: “I needed somewhere professional to be based and I was bowled over by what The Beacon had to offer.
“The space in which I operate is glass-fronted and highly visible, which allows people to see what I’m doing. I often see people standing outside watching and I am able to chat to them and bring them inside.
“It’s great for business because I can easily show what I do. It’s also a great facility because the support from staff is excellent and the other businesses based here are also very friendly.”
Shehla Rashid, director of Noor Couture, moved into The Beacon just weeks after it opened and was so impressed by its facilities that she has signed a further five-year contract.
She said: “I felt at home and part of a community of businesses as soon I came here, it has a very special atmosphere.
“It’s great financially and being on Westgate Road means the location is perfect.
“I started my business literally from home using a sewing machine about three years ago, and from The Beacon I have been able to grow it and benefit from the excellent support of the staff.
“When The Beacon opened I came along and asked what it was and was told that it was a centre for businesses – it sounded ideal and my business has gone really well since.”
The Beacon has a number of different spaces including a 400-capacity conference suite, a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and hair and beauty salon which can both be hired for training purposes.