A MULTI-MILLION pound innovation centre at the University of Chester’s Riverside Campus will promote an entrepreneurial spirit in the city.
The £6m Innovation Economy Centre, opening in September, will provide 15 small units aimed at new businesses including university graduates who decide to become self-employed.
Jointly funded by the university and the European Regional Development Fund (RDF) – it will offer accommodation for up to three years.
It is aimed at high tech businesses such as web design, marketing and IT. Help will be offered with developing a business plan, costings, cash flow, website design, marketing and developing a client base. Charlie Woodcock, executive director of innovation and development, said the centre’s success would be measured against RDF targets such as number of businesses assisted, jobs safeguarded and jobs created.
Business performance should be improved through company-to-company collaboration in a fully equipped meeting area.
The centre will also encourage a synergy between enterprise and academia – including the university’s specialisms in IT and digital, food technology, dietetics and sport. While business support agencies will be on hand, with many based in the centre, such as the Chamber of Commerce.
There will be state-of-the-art facilities such as video-conferencing, break-out rooms and a 200-capacity flexible-use hall.
Such an initiative would chime with a recommendation by the Urban Land Institute that Chester should create a business incubator centre.