A multi-million pound centre has been launched in Ellesmere Port to support economic growth and develop innovative products.

The newly developed £9m High Growth Centre is located at Thornton Science Park, formerly the Shell Technology Centre, near Stanlow.

Co-funded by the University of Chester and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the centre aims to offer SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and new start-up businesses across the north west valuable advice and support.

Designed specifically for companies operating in the advanced manufacturing, automotive, engineering and environmental sectors the university believes ‘the unique blend of industry, innovation and academia’ will deliver a ‘much needed’ boost to the region.

Companies will be able to access a wide range of specialist equipment and advice with additional support from the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering working alongside a team of specialist advisers.

Advice and support is available in business development, exporting, sales and marketing tactics and strategic planning, supply chain options, personalised intellectual property and commercialisation in addition to the technical and research and development support offered by the university’s science and engineering faculty.

In addition, up to 41 flexible workspaces are on offer close to the new centre.

Competitively priced office, laboratory and industrial workshops are in the process of being refurbished and businesses are encouraged to contact the High Growth team to discuss bespoke requirements.

Project leader Vince Hollender said: “The scale, skills and facilities available to businesses to tap into across the region has to be seen to be believed.

“Regardless of whether you are seeking business or technical support it is well worth an informal discussion with the High Growth team to explore the possibilities.”

The university says the centre has been set up to encourage new business creation and help existing businesses to develop.

It will facilitate the sharing of knowledge between business and the university and develop greater links with local, regional and international businesses.

Businesses can find out more about the High Growth Centre by emailing highgrowth@chester.ac.uk.