The government has announced that The University of Nottingham is to become one of the first University Enterprise Zones (UEZ) in the UK, helping to create dozens of new high-tech businesses and hundreds of new jobs in the city.
As part of the award of UEZ status, the University will also receive £2.6m government funding to build a new Technology Entrepreneurship Centre at its Innovation Park, which will provide accommodation and intensive incubation support for external business start-ups and early-stage small and medium enterprises.
The Technology Entrepreneurship Centre will focus on supporting businesses which operate in sectors of key local and national importance, such as Big Data & Digital, Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Energy. Companies based in the new Centre will be able to take advantage of the University’s leading centres of excellence in these areas and the ready supply of high quality postgraduate students.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Greenaway, said: “This is outstanding news for the University. We already work closely with many small and medium sized companies, but gaining UEZ status will enable us to significantly accelerate the work we are doing to foster business start-up, innovation and growth.
“The new Technology Entrepreneurship Centre will provide space for start-ups and early stage businesses. Entrepreneurs will be able to access expertise from across the University, which will help them develop innovative new products and services and give them a crucial competitive edge.”
The centre will also form the new home of the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s ‘Enterprise Laboratory’, the University’s flagship centre of excellence in enterprise education in Europe which is part of the Nottingham University Business School.
Hardev Singh, Trustee of the Haydn Green Foundation, commented: “I am delighted that the University has secured Enterprise Zone status. It will provide increased impetus in the support that the Haydn Green Institute offers to the start-up of student enterprises and to local businesses, further helping to develop entrepreneurial skills in the city.”
The UEZ bid was strongly supported by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and Nottingham City Council as a Core City. The vision for the Enterprise Zone is that it will become a key asset in attracting local and overseas investment and will spawn numerous high growth businesses in D2N2’s priority sectors, which will have the potential to become major contributors to the local area.
David Ralph, Chief Executive of D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, said: “Innovation and growth of small businesses is central to the delivery of D2N2’s Strategic Economic Plan. The development of the UEZ in Nottingham is a key component of bringing further start-up and early-stage businesses into closer contact with universities and other business support across our key sectors in order to help them grow.
“This facility will be important not only to Nottingham but to the delivery of our innovation programme across the D2N2 area as a whole.”
Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth at Nottingham City Council, added: “The City Council is absolutely delighted that The University of Nottingham has been awarded UEZ status. This reflects the leading position of the University as a key driver of innovation, and will strengthen the links between the University and small businesses.
“We look forward to working in partnership with the University to develop the UEZ which will play an important role in supporting the Nottingham Growth Plan and driving forward the city’s economy over the coming years.”
Work on the building of the Technology Entrepreneurship Centre will start later this year and it is anticipated that the centre will be open at the beginning of 2016.