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Ethos Launched!

10th August 2008
Ethos Launched!

Andrew Davies, Minister for Enterprise, Innovation & Networks, performed a ‘groundbreaking’ ceremony on Monday 5 February 2007 to mark the start of the £7.5 million Ethos Project at Swansea’s prestigious SA1 Waterfront development.

The innovative Ethos Project will create modern high-quality office accommodation with shared reception facilities and specifically-designed conferencing and networking infrastructures, enabling Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to make use of backup resources normally available only to larger businesses. This greater ‘business presence’ will help smaller businesses project themselves more effectively and compete with greater impact both locally and wider afield.

The construction of the Ethos Project building will begin in February following a £2.5 million grant from the Welsh Assembly Government. The funding will enable the project to provide 32,000 sq ft of office space to accommodate fifteen small and medium-sized knowledge-based businesses on four floors overlooking the marina and river. There will also be approximately 7,500 sq ft of business networking facilities. Andrew Davies said; “This latest investment in the internationally acclaimed SA1 development will provide small and medium-sized companies with the type of first-class facilities normally only available to larger organisations. The availability of modern, highquality office accommodation and resources will enable SMEs to compete on an equal footing with major businesses on both the national and international scale, creating a positive environment for growth which will benefit the local business community and Wales as a whole.”

The project has been put together by the Ethos Group Ltd, made up of Rowland Jones (Rowland Jones Chartered Surveyors), Jon Rance (Rockfield Software) and Meirion Howells (Meirion Howells Project Management). Jon Rance explains the concept: “The aim of the Ethos Project is to offer SMEs an opportunity to become owner/occupiers of purpose-built office space in the heart of SA1. Occupiers will share high-quality reception facilities, breakout rooms, meeting rooms and a conference suite equipped with the very latest presentation technology.” Rowland Jones emphasises the importance of the networking facilities: “SMEs will be able to meet other SA1 businesses and potential clients in the shared conference and meeting rooms, or the unique ‘business café’, or even on the summer podium overlooking the marina. Businesses will be invited to pool finances to arrange essential in-house events such as Health and Safety courses, IT upgrades or management skills training. By creating a collaborative community within the building, the interchange of ideas will create a vibrant, active commercial environment.”

Meirion Howells points out the ‘green’ aspects to the project: “The Ethos Group decided to incorporate the highest standards of ‘environmental best practice’ (BREEAM/BRECSU standards) into the construction of the building, and to support measures for promoting health and well-being. For example, anyone who might wish to cycle to work will find bicycle storage facilities and showers.” Objective One funding will provide 35% (£2,589,138) of the £7.5 million total cost. The commercial lending arm of Principality Building Society is lending the remaining £5 million amongst fierce competition for the mandate.

John Picton, Regional Manager in Swansea and West Wales for Principality said: “We are proud to have been selected to work with the Ethos Group to fund this groundbreaking project. Not only have we become the lender for the overall project but also the prime lender for the majority of purchasers for the individual office suites on completion of the build.”

Andrew Scott Ltd successfully tendered for the construction contract. Based in Margam, the company is one of Wales’ leading construction companies with expertise in heavy civil engineering and building works. Employing in excess of 250 people they have a turnover of around £30 million. Mike Grindle, Managing Director, is pleased to be involved with the Ethos Project and is looking forward to working with the Ethos Group. “Having constructed the adjacent Technium 1 building some five years ago, Andrew Scott is delighted to be involved yet again in the continuous transformation of Swansea as a waterfront city.”

The Ethos Group Ltd is keen to point out that all the occupiers of the building will be companies targeted for growth. Many of the businesses have been ‘nurtured’ within the framework of the Techniums and this project will provide the facilities required for an easy transition to owner/occupier premises. By enabling professional knowledge-based SMEs to locate in SA1, the Ethos Project will provide a healthy business balance for the whole waterfront development.

INFORMATION

  • Objective 1

To promote the development and structural adjustment of regions whose economic development is lagging behind - usually those regions whose per capita GDP is less than or close to 75% of the Community average.

WEFO is responsible for encouraging new projects, appraising and making decisions on applications, paying grants and ensuring that proper procedures are in place by those organisations in receipt of funds. It is also responsible for publicising the effect of the Funds in Wales. WEFO is part of the Welsh Assembly Government's Enterprise, Innovation and Networks Department.