Five Years with Future Space: An interview with our Centre Manager, Parm Cory-Jones

August 16th 2021

Parm Cory-Jones

Parm Cory-Jones, Centre Manager, Future Space

Parm Cory-Jones has been with the Future Space team from the beginning. She joined the team as Assistant Centre Manager, overseeing mobilisation and operations for the centre, and has since been promoted to Centre Manager. As we celebrate five years of the centre, we meet up with her to find out what makes Future Space so special.

"I’m lucky to have such a strong team working beside me and we’re always focused on building our knowledge base around what our members need so we can be one step ahead. We all genuinely love coming here every day." 

How have you seen Future Space develop and change over the past 5 years?

It's been an amazing five years of growth. At first people didn’t know that Future Space was here and the support we could offer, so it was a bit slower. As word of mouth got out and we started to see the first set of companies exiting after exciting growth, things started to take off.

How have you personally played a role in the development of Future Space?

The day to day running of the centre is extremely important to ensure that we’re supporting and being flexible for our customers. I came to the role with experience of running an innovation and business centre. However, I had no idea of how to organise and run labs and workshops. Developing and learning about what our customers require from our lab and workshop services has helped me grow my skills and confidence.

In 2020 I was promoted to Centre Manager, where I started to build on my skills for the commercial side of the business. Working with marketing to develop our brand and services has been very rewarding. Like any new business, it has not been easy but having the right support with the centre team has played a key role in my progression. And we have such lovely customers that are always happy to help and be supportive in the development of Future Space. Having them involved is what we’re all about.

How do you think Future Space stands out from other workspaces in how it supports its members?

I feel we are unique due to our location, opportunities and the fact we have support from a thriving University. Being situated at UWE Bristol’s campus has offered our member companies unique collaboration opportunities, such as our internship programme. As a start-up your overheads need to be low, and UWE Bristol has also supported our companies with equipment sharing.

Future Space is part of a larger organisation known as Oxford Innovation who have 26 centres across the UK, and we’re able to offer services and support to our members through all of their centres. All of this makes Future Space stand out.

You have done a few different roles whilst working at Future Space. What's the main thing you've learnt?

I’ve learnt a lot about innovation and the support that starts-ups require to be successful. I’m lucky to have such a strong team working beside me and we’re always focused on building our knowledge base around what our members need so we can be one step ahead. We all genuinely love coming here every day. Stay positive and remember why we work here is our mantra!

What are your personal highlights from the past 5 years?

There’s so many, but three things really stand out:

The building. Future Space has a unique design - from the yellow flags above us to the murals in the meeting rooms - and I very much think it works for what we’re doing here. It’s one of the best buildings I have had the pleasure of overseeing. I still have customers touring and saying wow - what a great space! We’ve got an amazing drone video tour that showcases it too - if you haven’t seen it I recommend giving it a watch.

The customers. Without them and their wonderful ideas, we would not have such a wonderful centre.

The Future Space team. They have come and gone over the past five years but one thing we all have in common is our passion for delivering an excellent centre.

What are your favourite innovations that you've seen come out of Future Space?

Open Bionics started out here when they first created their Hero Arm. In the early days they would meet the children they were making the arms for in reception, and we would see the smiles on the children and their family's faces. That was priceless. Also, on a very personal level, the Driverless car that Fusion Processing let me sit in whilst it took me for a drive around the car park! So much fun. It’s always a highlight when we see the lab customers develop their products and move on to a larger site. We know we’ve done our job then.

What would you like to see the future hold for Future Space?

Lots more start-ups working from here and developing their innovative businesses, collaborating, growing and succeeding. More space to grow our services and footprint.

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