A PURPOSE-built growth hub is calling full house exactly 12 months after opening its doors.

Fareham Innovation Centre announced 10 per occupation this week - two years ahead of schedule.

The centre, run by Oxford Innovation on behalf of Fareham Borough Council, provides businesses with advice and support to help them start and grow.

Stephen Brownlie, Oxford Innovation's regional manager, said: "The demand for the 24 offices and 15 workshops here at Fareham Innovation Centre has been phenomenal - we are two years ahead of schedule by way of occupancy levels.

“There is a strong case for additional, similar business space to be built in the vicinity because demand from incubator and growing business is so strong."

Daily Echo:

The recently-launched Fareham Innovation Centre

There are now 27 businesses with a combined staff of 110, at the award-winning £5.3m centre, next to the former military Daedalus airport at Lee-on-the-Solent and within the Solent Enterprise Zone.

It stands across the road from the recently-launched £12m CEMAST Centre - Centre of Excellence in Engineering & Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training.

A further 36 local businesses regularly using the drop-in facilities, including hired conference and meeting rooms. Many of the occupiers are from the marine, aviation, aerospace and engineering sectors.

One of the latest businesses to take root is MRO Insyte, which specialises in the maintenance, repair and operations environment, such as factory spares at warehouses, across the world.

The firm, run and owned by Peter Eales, has just been awarded a contract by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce and Industry to visit manufacturing plants and benchmark inventory efficiencies and international standards for the Kingdom.

Mr Eales said: “The innovation centre is helping me to grow my business by freeing me up to focus on what I do best. It is in a fantastic location and gives me all the tools I need to grow as a business. Working around other businesses allows me to network and acquire new and creative ideas to develop MRO Insyte."

Mr Brownlie added: “With 110 people based here, the opportunity for business support and networking with other companies is superb. For example, MRO Insyste commissioned another occupier, LR Animation Studios, to produce a video as a visual sales tool."

Due to the success of MRO Insyte at the centre, Peter has since relocated from Berkshire and is now living nearby.

Occupiers at Fareham Innovation Centre enjoy various benefits, including a 100% business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a five-year period for being within an Enterprise Zone.

The centre was named the Most Innovative Small Business Friendly, Programme, Campaign or Project at the 2015 FBS awards.

Andy Wannell, director of finance at Fareham Borough Council, said: “The vision for the Innovation Centre was that it would be a thriving business hub for growth and networking and that is exactly what it has become.”