START-UP firms will soon be able to move into the £6m Riverside Innovation Centre at the University of Chester’s Riverside Campus in Chester.

The new incubation hub is set for a September launch and will offer a variety of facilities to help develop untapped business potential.

Jointly funded by the European Development Fund (ERDF) and the University, the centre is the first of its kind in Cheshire and will provide city-centre incubation units for 15 start-ups.

Start-up businesses including IT, creative, media and health, have already expressed an interest but there are still units up for grabs.

Tenants will include graduates starting their own business. In addition to spaces for new firms, the centre will focus on support for existing businesses seeking to fulfil their economic potential.

Charlie Woodcock, the University of Chester’s executive director of Innovation and Development, said: “This is a huge asset for Cheshire and the North West as a whole.

“We’ll be providing a state-of-the-art centre which will encourage and celebrate innovation, and help promote Chester as a forward-thinking city that not only supports, but actively encourages, business growth and inward investment.”

The centre will feature a number of key services and purpose-designed facilities including a 150-seater conference suite, break-out rooms, a networking business lounge available on a free drop-in basis, and meeting rooms for hire.

Business support will also be available on-site with a number of key partners from the business community based at the centre, including the Chamber of Commerce.

Charlie Woodcock added: “With key support services like Business Link set to close in November of this year, it has never been a more important time for us to invest in supporting new businesses in our region.

“The Riverside Innovation Centre is a central point which will help address a variety of business needs and the standard of infrastructure, quality of support and ease of access is set to be among the most inclusive and integrated facilities in the North West.”