Liverpool’s £5m international centre for women’s economic development (WICED) moved a step closer today as architects’ Nightingale Associates were appointed to design a bespoke building.

The 2,000sqm centre – which will be located in the heart of Liverpool – will be the first of its kind its kind in the UK and is expected to help 3,000 women set up business creating 4,500 new jobs over the next ten years.

Train 2000 and WICED’s Executive Director, Maggie O’Carroll said: “The Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) will be the hub of international research on female entrepreneurship as well as providing a range of enterprise support including space for up to 80 business units to help women start and grow their businesses. ”We wanted the building itself to be an iconic building and we awarded Nightingale the contract on the strength of its design team.” Katy Heath, Principal at Nightingales’ Liverpool studio, added: “We are very much looking forward to working on what will be an exciting project and are delighted to be playing a part in creating a bespoke building that will have such a positive impact on so many women starting businesses.”

The new-build project, expected to reach completion in late 2010, will contain a range of offices, training & conference facilities and incubator space for new businesses. It is being jointly-funded by WICED, the North West Development Agency, Future Builders, Train 2000, Liverpool Vision, and Liverpool Council. Nightingale Associates will shortly start the design stage of the project, will provide a full architectural and interior design service. Construction is due to start on site in October this year.
Nightingale Associates is a leading practice serving the public sector. It specialises in the fields of health, education and science. Nightingale Associates is part of the Tribal Group plc and has eight offices in the UK, as well as one office in Cape Town, South Africa. Nightingale Associates’ commitment to innovation and research has placed it at the forefront of design developments in areas such as modern learning environments, mental healthcare, environmental sustainability and laboratory design.

Pictured: Left to right: Alison Price WICED Chair, Cllr Flo Clucas, Deputy Leader Liverpool City Council, Katy Heath Principal, Nightingale Associates, Maggie O’ Carroll Executive Director WICED and Train 2000 Ltd.