Coworking communities for creatives

Affordable office, desk and studio space in Bristol

Request more info

0117 244 3585

Bristol, a city of creatives and entrepreneurs

Bristol’s Vibe

Bristolians are friendly, liberal, free-spirited and extremely supportive of new ventures and ideas. Home to a diverse multicultural and multiethnic community, the city takes huge pride in its cohesiveness and community-led events and enterprises. Bristol’s sense of shared identity is palpable to anyone spending just a few weeks in the city and is embodied by Bristol’s inherently collaborative startup and entrepreneur community.

Bristol’s vibe is one of inclusiveness, openness and tolerance, reflected in the city’s proud recent history of championing civil rights and challenging prejudice, encouraging open and frank debate about its troubling involvement in Britain’s slave trade during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Bristol is also a very green and sustainable city (it was named European Green City in 2015) and Bristolians are very proud of this. This can be seen in the number of green startups the city produces, like Pukka Herbs, Soil Association, Better Food and Sustrans. The city was also the first to introduce free water bottle refills and has lead the way in promoting plastic-free living.

Bristol’s Cultural Scene

Bristol is renowned for its rich and diverse culture. From Stokes Croft (so dubbed Bristol’s ‘cultural quarter’) to annual St Paul’s Carnival to the esteemed heritage of Bristol Old Vic (the oldest theatre in the country); Bristol’s cultural identity is profound and discernible to anyone who experiences it. The city offers a wealth of independent cinema, plays, cabaret and stand up comedy at vibrant, independent venues such as the Wardrobe Theatre, the Tobacco Factory Theatres, Watershed and Trinity Centre.

Like other UK cities, Bristol has a distinct sound and style when it comes to music, producing such pivotal and groundbreaking artists, bands and producers as Portishead, Massive Attack, Tricky, Roni Size and Neneh Cherry. Reggae, jazz, drum & bass, ska and a thriving indie scene mean the city is a musical mecca for the south-west. Bristol is also well-known as a city of festivals, hosting close to a festival a week in the warmer months. Highlights include Love Saves the Day, Simple Things, Bristol Pride and the world-famous Balloon Fiesta.

The birthplace of Banksy, Bristol also commands a huge artistic influence with the city playing host to what has now become the largest annual graffiti festival in Europe, Upfest. Multi-disciplinary art exhibitions and events can be enjoyed all year round at artist-led initiatives such as Brunswick Club, Caraboo Projects and The Island, as well as at larger public galleries the Arnolfini and Spike Island.

Why Start A Business in Bristol?

Consistently named as one of the country’s best cities for startups in the UK, Bristol has an established reputation, both as a vibrant place to live and a place to do business. The city is the South West’s economic powerhouse and increasingly seen as an attractive alternative to London. In 2016 a UCL study put the city at number one as the best city in the UK for startups.

Such is the attraction of the city to young tech companies, inventors and entrepreneurs, that the term ‘Silicon Gorge’ was coined (a play on Bristol’s Avon Gorge, which is spanned by Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge). The term hasn’t just been plucked out of the blue; including neighbouring Bath, Swindon and Gloucester, Silicon Gorge represents the fifth largest tech cluster in Europe.

In 2015, international consultancy firm McKinsey described Bristol as experiencing the “fastest internationally significant growth outside of London”. In 2016 the city was named the UK’s leading smart city outside of London and in 2017 was ranked second in the Start-up Cities Index 2017

Bristol’s long-standing culture of innovation and collaboration makes for fertile soils for businesses looking to tap into a wealth of diverse talent and expertise. Despite being a city, Bristol’s creative industries are a close-knit community, working and networking across a range of collaborative spaces and disciplines. All this gives the startup scene more of a village feel, making it far easier to establish good connections and make a splash.

Bristol is well connected, sitting on the intersection of the M4 and M5 motorways. Great for business connections, but also for getting out to the countryside or coast for some creative headspace. Bristol is also just an hour and 45 minutes from London by train with the area around the city’s main station, Temple Meads, undergoing major redevelopment to help ease traffic congestion and improve pedestrian access. Bristol is also a very cycle-friendly city with a cycle path between Bristol and Bath following the old railway line and used by thousands of cyclists and pedestrians every week.

Support For Businesses in Bristol

Undoubtedly one of the secret’s to Bristol’s success as a thriving startup hub is the support offered to new businesses through a number of schemes, programmes and initiatives. One of the most significant of these is the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which acts as a partnership between business and local authorities in the wider Bristol region, with a view to driving 3.4% annual growth and £1 billion of private sector investment into the city by 2020.

The West of England Growth Fund helps fund new businesses and projects in Bristol, with grants of anything between £10,000 to £80,000. The city’s Local Enterprise Partnership has access to £25m in investment that it invests into local businesses.

Bristol has two universities - Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE) - which represent a huge support network and talent pool for businesses in the city. These institution’s involvement with new businesses and budding entrepreneurs is symbolised by SET Squared, a business incubator that is partnered with five universities, including Bristol and Bath. In 2018 SET Squared was ranked as the World’s Top Business Incubator Managed by a University by UBI Global

Separately, Bristol University runs it’s own Research and Enterprise Development Programme (RED), which connects academics, researchers and the business community, from kitchen table entrepreneurs to small startup businesses.

You might also be interested in reading

wallace as ziggy stardust

A Guide to Bristol’s Thriving Creative Industries

Bristol, a city of creatives and entrepreneurs Bristol’s Vibe Bristolians are friendly, liberal,…

Read more..
Meanwhile Creative team photo - Bristol

Job opportunity: Marketing Manager

Bristol, a city of creatives and entrepreneurs Bristol’s Vibe Bristolians are friendly, liberal,…

Read more..
Wildscreen Festival team

Say Hello: Wildscreen

Bristol, a city of creatives and entrepreneurs Bristol’s Vibe Bristolians are friendly, liberal,…

Read more..
Cat Sinnamon Large, Catupholstery

Say Hello: Cat Sinnamon Large

Bristol, a city of creatives and entrepreneurs Bristol’s Vibe Bristolians are friendly, liberal,…

Read more..

Bristol Food and Drink

Bristol’s celebrated culinary scene has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Tuk Tuck, The Canteen, Jamaica Street Stores, Flour & Ash, Sky Kong Kong, Dela, Pasta Loco and Yurt Lush are just a few highlights, with Wapping Wharf’s recent Cargo development significantly bolstering the scene and providing a home to scores more of the UK’s most exciting young restaurants. In fact, the city’s culinary scene is so vibrant and fast-moving that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. A foodies dream, that’s for sure.

The city is also home to several established Michelin star restaurants including Wilks, Casa Mia and most recently Bulrush. Other Bristol favourites include the best steak this side of Hawksmoor at the Ox, Italian from Rosemarino or Bosco and authentic tapas from Bravas or Poco.

Bristol boasts a number of independent wine merchants such as Corks of Cotham and Grape & Grind. A particular treat for lovers of really well-made cocktails, are the city’s lauded speakeasies Hyde & Co, Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the Milk Thistle.

If you’re more of an ale person, then you’ll love the city’s burgeoning and exciting independent ale scene. Bristol is a city that takes its drink as seriously as it takes its food. Moor brewery, Good Chemistry, Bristol Beer Factory, Left Handed Giant, Wiper & True are just a few of the city’s up and coming independent craft beer breweries. Plus there’s Bristol Beer Week and the amazing East Bristol Brewery Trail on top. Bristol also has several food festivals, including Bristol Food Connections and Vegan Fest.

Bristol’s Independent Shopping

Bristol is one of the UK’s most independent cities in terms of its shops, cafes and bars and it’s easy to get a real sense in the pride Bristolians take in this. As such the city is home to a whole raft of successful artists, designers, artisan and craftspeople. Perhaps no other road in the city represents Bristol’s fierce dedication to independence than Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft. This uninterrupted boulevard of independent bars, cafes, delis, record, charity and bric-a-brac shops.

Bristol also boasts a number of independent food markets, selling all manner of mouth-watering foods, fresh produce and unique products. Most famous of these is St Nick’s market, situated in the city’s historic centre and which now features a vegan market, every Monday. Other markets include the Harbourside Market, Tobacco Factory Market, Whiteladies Road Farmers’ Market.

Bristol’s Future

With a commitment to build a large arena in the city and continuing inward investment, Bristol’s future looks very bright indeed. Backing onto Temple Meads train station is Bristol’s burgeoning Temple Quarter, dubbed the city’s Central Business District (CBD) and this continues to expand with work due to begin soon on the University of Bristol’s new £300 million Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, which will regenerate the area. The campus will include a £43 million Quantum Technologies innovation hub.

With economic forecasts placing Bristol over London in terms of economic growth (coming in third, behind only Manchester and Reading) the future looks very bright for Bristol indeed. At 11.6% Bristol’s population is growing faster than the UK average of 8.2%. If this trend continues then Bristol’s population will hit 545,000 by 2039 (an increase of just over 100,000 people).

The future for all freelancers, small businesses and startups in the UK is uncertain at the moment but compared to other ‘core’ cities in the UK, the West of England LEP has the highest annual growth rate at 6.2% per year and remains the most productive per head. This puts Bristol on a very sound footing for the future years and decades.

Why Meanwhile Creative

Business in Bristol is booming but the nature of small business work is also changing, with more people than ever before going freelance. Meanwhile Creative’s offices, studios and coworking communities have been created to cater to the needs and requirements of the city’s emerging and extremely vibrant small business scene. Whether you’re a Bristol maker looking for a private studio or a startup in search of an affordable open plan office, we can provide you with the space to get you up and running in no time, with minimal interruption to your business.

At Meanwhile Creative, we also understand the need for flexibility that small businesses need to thrive and survive in an uncertain and competitive marketplace. This is why we don’t tie our tenants into yearly contracts but offer rolling monthly contracts, allowing small businesses to grow and move on at a time that suits you.

Get in touch today, to find out about the offices and studios we have to rent in Bristol.