Ambitious plans are moving forward to deliver new space for start-ups and innovative businesses at the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway research and technology park thanks to a £2m cash injection from Essex County Council.
Work is starting on the £12m Innovation Centre thanks to the county council funding plus £2m from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.
New images of the key developments have also just been released with the next phase of Parkside Office Village due to be completed by the autumn and the Innovation Centre opening early in 2019.
Parkside Office Village is already home to more than 20 SMEs plus a growing number of student start-ups and the Innovation Centre will offer a home to more than 50 start-ups and fast growing hi-tech businesses.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “Essex is leading the UK on start-ups of new enterprises and Essex County Council’s investment of £2million into the Innovation Centre at the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus demonstrates our commitment to support these businesses by providing the right types of workspaces. We also recognise the importance of Colchester as a digital cluster and this investment will help to further enhance Colchester’s presence in this sector.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for our Knowledge Gateway research and technology park. We are starting 2018 with the first phase of our Parkside Office Village completely full and very strong interest in our next phase which will be ready by autumn this year.
“Work on our £14m Innovation Centre is now starting thanks to £2m of funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund and a further £2m grant from Essex County Council. This support will allow us to drive innovation and growth in the eastern region by extending our thriving SME community, providing new space for innovative start-ups and expanding opportunities for business to work with our researchers. and benefit from our graduate and student talent.”
The University has invested a total of £50m so far in creating the Knowledge Gateway which brings together great infrastructure, talented academic researchers, space for start-ups, and opportunities for anchor tenants to establish new regional centres.
The long-term vision is to create more than 2,000 high-value jobs within 15 years by offering a home to more start-ups, SMEs and global businesses looking to benefit from being located at the Colchester Campus.
Ambitious hi-tech businesses are already based at Parkside Office Village alongside Essex Chambers of Commerce, the Haven Gateway Partnership, the Institute for Analytics and Data Science, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, and the Essex Business School.
Essex is one of the leading universities in the UK for working with business through Innovate UK’s flagship Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme. It is working with more than 20 companies based across London, Essex and Suffolk allowing forward-thinking businesses to connect with research expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality.
Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “This shows how our universities can play an invaluable role in nurturing entrepreneurship and employability through the creation of spin-outs and start-ups. As these businesses grow, the next challenge is how to keep them locally, and this is where the Knowledge Gateway comes into its own by providing the space to accommodate their commercial success.
“The Innovation Centre is exactly the type of project we want to support in our role as champions for economic growth in Essex, Southend and Thurrock, alongside East Sussex, and Kent and Medway, as part of our Strategic Economic Plan.”
For more information, please visit: www.essex.ac.uk