Shipping Containers

Giving Small Business an Unexpected Home

A pioneering new scheme in Bristol is providing affordable business premises in custom-designed shipping containers.

Made possible by funding from Lloyds Retail Business Banking, Boxworks forms part of Engine Shed – a collaboration between Bristol City Council, the University of Bristol and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

Its mission is to “stimulate long term economic growth by supporting business, inspiring young people to get involved and to showcase to the public and potential inward investors the exciting opportunities that exist here”.

Early stage businesses

Engine Shed has so far accommodated 37 businesses, with a further 20 in Boxworks, accounting for 315 jobs.

The planning, execution and delivery of the 20 insulated, wood-lined, fibre-connected eco-containers took six months and all were occupied soon after completion. They are now home to a range of early-stage businesses working across technology, creative industries and social enterprise.

Boxworks is an affordable office space for entrepreneurs and people who couldn’t necessarily afford retail frontage. This fell neatly into Retail Business Banking in terms of our commitment to support start-ups and what we were trying to achieve as a bank in terms of helping Britain prosper. Engine Shed is a great networking space for entrepreneurs. For us it is a great link to the local community. I gave a talk at its launch to the community about the links to enterprise and entrepreneurship. So in terms of profile it was brilliant for us to share the good work that Lloyds does.

Paul Capon, Regional Manager, Lloyds Retail Business Banking

Perform Green

The tenant of Boxworks Unit 3, Perform Green, is a sustainability consultancy business working on large government projects to make society and the environment work better for people.

They are currently involved with Bristol Council on the Smart City Hub and the ‘Bristol is Open’ internet project.

The business employs 25 associates and originally started up in Engine Shed next door but outgrew their space and needed to move.

For its founder, Barney Smith, Boxworks has been important in developing the business.

Innovative Commercial Space

Boxworks is owned and managed by Forward Space, a local workspace company specialising in innovative commercial properties for early-stage businesses.

Its founder and CEO, Gavin Eddy, is pleased with its progress: “We were approached by Engine Shed who told us they were at capacity and asked if we could provide a quick solution. We had already done a project using shipping containers as a ‘meanwhile’ workspace so we jumped at the opportunity.”

Innovative Commercial Space

Helping Businesses Prosper

Businesses across Britain are facing significant challenges. We’re helping to address them through our Helping Britain Prosper Plan because we believe we are best placed to do this. We already serve approximately 1 million small businesses but we want to be more than a bank.

In 2016 we achieved 7 of our 8 business targets, including:

- Providing £1.2 billion of new funding support to manufacturing businesses.

- Providing £955 million in funding to help housing associations expand affordable housing.

- Exceeding our target to support infrastructure projects worth a combined £10 billion, under the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan.