Both graduates and spin-out companies from each university are boosting Nottingham’s economy by maximising funding such as the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) to help grow their business. N’Tech is a grant funding scheme designed to support developing and established businesses and is a key part of the city’s bold Growth Plan with a focus on the three key sectors of digital content, life sciences and clean technology.
In each sector, Nottingham already has acclaimed young companies and significant numbers of new-start firms, many beginning as spin-outs from the city’s two universities. The universities themselves have particular strengths in these areas and are investing in their development, benefiting the whole city.
Nearly 40 jobs in Nottingham are being created or safeguarded thanks to investment in university linked businesses. N’Tech is currently supporting six spin-out companies from both the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University as well as three new enterprises launched by Nottingham graduates.
N’Tech is run by Nottingham City Council and is focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the greater Nottingham area. To date the N’Tech fund which is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund has had 40 successful applications, awarded grants to the value £4.5 million leading to the creation or safeguarding of 845 jobs.
Dan King, Head of Knowledge Transfer at The University of Nottingham, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that so many businesses benefitting from the N’Tech Fund have origins and links to the City’s two universities. Spin-out companies led by academics and based on new technologies, businesses incubated by the universities and run by students and recent graduates, all the way through to experienced entrepreneurs, who first came to the City as students, are all benefitting from N’Tech support. Each of these businesses is contributing to the growing and vibrant business community in Nottingham and I am delighted to see this.
“At the University of Nottingham we are working closely with the City Council to support local businesses and I would encourage other business owners to find out how they too could benefit from accessing our academic expertise, student talent, and facilities to help give them a competitive edge.”
Spin-outs benefiting include University of Nottingham’s Platelet Solutions, formed in 2011 which received £25,000. The business is based at Queen’s Medical Centre’s Cardiovascular Medicine Unit, and has identified a system – in a palm-sized box – which identifies whether medicines that reduce blood clots are actually achieving the health benefits they are prescribed for.
Voicekey Limited – a spin out from Nottingham Trent University has created a ground-breaking system, developed in Nottingham, to boost smartphone security which has been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence. The MoD “Bring-Your-Own-Device” (BYOD) development contract could see a possible saving of money from a reduction in issue of phones to staff.
Both universities have dedicated programme initiatives with the EnterpriseLab and The Hive helping business creation for their students and graduates. N’Tech is currently supporting three companies founded by graduates from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. These are Go Dine Limited, MultiPie Limited and Easy Pre-Orders Limited.
Go-Dine www.godine.co.uk is a successful restaurant booking website established by NTU graduate Adam Roberts which was awarded £85,300 from N’Tech to allow for further technical development in the business and the creation of 10 jobs. In just two years, Adam has developed what he believes is the definitive online restaurant booking guide, promoting 230 eateries from Northampton to Leeds.
Dr Jeremy Hague, head of Business Development at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Nottingham Trent University is very pleased to be part of this successful programme which is helping SMEs to access support to grow and create new jobs.
“We want to be part of a thriving local economy and supporting small businesses is key to that. As the programme develops the university would be very keen to explore other ways in which it might help local businesses grow through our business support and innovation programmes and help businesses access the graduate talent of the university.”
N’Tech is a core element of the Nottingham Growth Plan a blueprint for the city’s future business growth and one of the most ambitious strategies of the UK’s Core Cities. Measures introduced as part of the plan have played a key role in encouraging new business formation through various finance and support packages.
Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Skills at the City Council, said: “Nottingham is world-class for the innovation and research its universities produce, and the city is very proud of that fact. With 62,000 students, we’ve also been named as the number one target city for employers – above both Oxford and Cambridge. Partly that is because our universities are so skilled at working with business, making connections with industry and creating spin-out opportunities. The support we are now providing through funding initiatives like the N’Tech Grant is ensuring that more university spin-outs are being given a chance to survive and grow. That in turn means we retain the knowledge and skills in the city, and create commercial success stories, with all the associated job creation that brings.”