New Entrepreneurs at The Factory


BCC is located in the Fitzherbert Science Park, amongst CRI’s and research institutions in an old building with a ton of history called The Factory. Constructed in 1929, it was the old Dairy technology building where some of New Zealand’s early dairy innovations took place. Some of the groundbreaking innovations included the isolation of bacteriophages and vacuum pasteurisation of cheese. In 1992 the building underwent a major renovation, which incidentally won a New Zealand Institute of Architecture award. In 2005 the building, by then registered as a Category 1 historic place, became the Bio Commerce Centre before later being reclaimed as The Factory in 2014.

After another round of renovations in 2015, BCC opened The Factory doors to new entrepreneurs wanting to come in and rent desks in the co-working spaces or offices, use our public lounge, meeting rooms and the kitchen. Our aim was to create a dynamic and interactive atmosphere, to fill the space with individuals from a wide range of businesses, where residents could benefit from rubbing shoulders with people in different fields and an innovative environment would be created.

This has certainly been a success so far with all kinds of businesses, sole traders and professionals now spending their days at The Factory. In fact, with several new recent additions to the building, there is currently only one free desk remaining! Some of the new additions to the building include Lattitude Global Volunteering, an international volunteering and gap year placements for 17-25 year olds, Altus, who specialise in the construction of drones, and BlueCell, which we will discuss below in more detail.

BlueCell, a recently setup business, provides informatics services for the life-science and healthcare sector – but the actual description of everything that BlueCell does is actually quite hard to pin down, according to Cass Johnston, the New Zealand side of the operation. After Cass got her Masters of Science in Bioinformatics, she got into developing and implementing bioinformatic systems for hospitals that were not used to dealing with new technology like linux. “A lot of what I was doing was relatively new, so I had to work things out for myself,” says Cass.

With BlueCell she focuses mainly on the IT side, while her four partners who she left in the UK do a range of things including genomics, bioanalysis, statistics, and text mining to name a few.  Cass and her husband left the UK just a few weeks ago to come to Palmerston North and she immediately started working at The Factory. “I went online and it was the only place I found that was really suitable. I didn’t want to be sitting at home working in a new place where I didn’t know anybody, and The Factory has been great – the shared office space is the perfect mix of being social, but not to the point of being distracting. And of course Mel [Manager of The Factory] makes a great coffee!”

For more information visit The Factory Website

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