An Innovation Centre at the University of Essex has secured £2m

Work is now underway to create a major new Innovation Centre at the University of Essex, thanks to £2m of funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), that will provide business space and start-up support for 50 companies.

Supporting Essex’s economy

The funding from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) and other local partners will now enable the delivery of The Innovation Centre, which will become part of the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway in Colchester a project designed to foster the right conditions for creating more high skilled jobs in Essex through encouraging new business start-ups. The project will help create direct links between the University and private sector businesses.

The investment in the Innovation Centre is consistent with the Government’s strategy for supporting applied research and development with £4.7bn committed over the next four years.

Funding for Essex

The LGF funding has helped unlock £9m from the University of Essex, which includes proceeds from land sales and accommodation transactions, plus a £2m grant from Essex County Council.

The Innovation Centre will attract companies to come to the University of Essex to establish and grow their business, contributing to student employability and enhancing the position of the University of Essex as a national centre for SMEs.

The total £13m investment in the Innovation Centre is set to create an additional 423 new jobs for the area and to add £9.2m GVA each year to the county’s economy.

Support for the bid

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.”

George Kieffer, Essex Vice Chair of SELEP, added:

“Essex is quickly establishing a global reputation for analytics and data science. The Knowledge Gateway and this new Innovation Centre will play an important part in the county reaching its target of employing 2,000 people in the sector by 2021. “The university is already making great strides in developing educational and research capabilities in those ICT sectors that offer the strongest economic development potential.”

Next steps

For more information of the Essex projects being funded by Local Growth Round 3.