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A flagship project of Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise has seen interest in its services increase dramatically since becoming a part of the local Enterprise Zone. 

Managers at Ebbw Vale Innovation Centre (EVIC) say their inclusion in the zone has boosted enquires from businesses looking to move into the prestige development.

EVIC has been hailed as a great success since its launch in 2004 and expansion in 2010. It has been home to hundreds of growing businesses and been a leading stimulus for the local economy.

The development set a new benchmark for business accommodation when it was opened in 2004 by Neil and Glenys Kinnock.

Since then it has enjoyed high levels of occupancy and become an important feature of the business landscape. Tenants have enjoyed the freedom of flexible arrangements, and praised its features which include 40,000 square foot of space a mixture of offices and workshops, fully equipped meeting rooms, excellent security, serviced reception, 24-hour access, super-fast broadband, and a gym and sauna complex for the tenants.

In February this year, the sites of EVIC and nearby Festival Park were added to the Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone, meaning they could enjoy the benefits available to the five other sites in the local zone.

Enterprise Zones offer some of the highest levels of incentives available in the UK, including Enhanced Capital Allowances and assistance with Business Rates, and in July the Welsh Government announced building work will start on a new £100m technology park in Ebbw Vale by the end of the financial year.

For 2017-18, the Business Rates Scheme will be available to new businesses located in and trading from the Zones since April 1 2017. They will be able to apply for up to £55,000 to offset the cost of business rates incurred during 2017/18 financial year.

Finance Wales offers loans at reduced rates to businesses in the zones, and there is also special help with skills development, ICT, Research and Development and international trade.

Glyn Thomas, Manager for UK Steel Enterprise in Wales, said: “We are delighted that the site is now part of the Enterprise Zone and able to benefit from this special business environment.

“It is a very positive development as far as we are concerned, both for the Innovation Centre and the local business community.”

He added that the extension of the Zone to take in EVIC and the former Garden Festival site appeared to have increased the level of enquiries from businesses looking to take space.

“Interest in both our flexible office space and our workshops is high, and our feedback is that the Enterprise Zone is playing a part in this.”

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: “The Wales Enterprise Zone programme has contributed to the Welsh economy by supporting more than 10,000 jobs through a competitive package of financial and other incentives including business rates support, tailored skills support, apprenticeship schemes and bespoke infrastructure projects.

“I am delighted to hear the individual stories that make up this bigger picture. It is encouraging to know that not only is EVIC enjoying growth and expansion, but that it is in turn helping other businesses in demanding economic times.

“I wish EVIC and the Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone continued success.”

Picture Caption: Gail Hannam of Ebbw Vale Innovation Centre