Public sector

Social enterprise case study: Baltic Creative

Guy Clifton Guy Clifton

Delivering Liverpool’s shared vision and ambition for the technology sector.

Baltic Creative Community Interest Company (BCCIC) was born in 2009 out of a plan by Liverpool Vision and ACME to regenerate an area of Liverpool City Centre. The company was originally funded through the North West Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund. It brought 18 derelict warehouses to the south of Liverpool city centre back into operation with a view to developing a vibrant space for the development of creative and digital industries.

The company delivered on its original objectives as detailed in the Independent 5 Year Economic Review for the scheme (published in October 2014). The original space of 47,000 square feet was fully let with latent demand and a healthy waiting list.

BCCIC is a commercial landlord that provides space specifically for creative and digital industries. The area in which the company has grown, the Baltic Triangle, is now recognised as an exemplar international project for C&D Cluster Development (British Council 2015). The company has a well-established board with representatives from the public and private sector with a broad range of relevant skills and experiences. The company has only three paid members of staff.

Liverpool itself is now recognised as the second fastest growing tech cluster in the UK and BCCIC along with Liverpool City Council are investing in support staff to help develop a shared vision and ambition for the C&D sector in the city. A new C&D Sector Strategy and Implementation Plan is being developed between the city, BCCIC and its partners to ensure the sustainable growth of the sector in future years.

The company has recently launched its new business plan covering the period 2016-2021 which includes the ambition of doubling the size of the business in this period with the development of a further 50,000 square feet of floor space. Future development will come from its own resources and leveraging private or public sector funding from a variety of sources: ERDF, Liverpool City Region Impact Fund, private finance, Heritage Lottery Funds and other available suitable funding streams.

There is a clear purpose and set of specific objectives to drive its business for the next five years. It has a pipeline of projects that will create a balanced mix of new tenants alongside the current established creative SMEs. While the economic impact of delivering the current business plan is the creation of 128 new jobs, safeguarding of 198 jobs and 118 new business supports, it is expected to be much greater than this as the sector expands and creates additional outputs including new spin offs, businesses, new products and broader community benefits. The growth of the sector will more generally add value in terms of regenerative impact in the Baltic Triangle area and beyond.

The company has a clear view on the barriers to growth and a risk strategy. In addition it has an exit strategy once its goals have been met including a financial plan and business model that ensures the future sustainability of the area and community.

A Community Investment Panel is being developed to ensure that as the Baltic Creative property base grows and surplus revenues/profits increase there will be re-investment in the sector more generally. This panel will be in place from April 2018 and will help contribute to the longer-term legacy outcomes for the industry and the city.

Requests to understand how the company and its model have developed are being received from within the city region, nationally and internationally.

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Case study: Baltic Creative
Delivering Liverpool’s shared vision and ambition for the technology sector.

For more information on setting up a social enterprise contact Vivien Holland