26 March 2013

South East LEP invests £2.4 million into University of Essex project to support small and medium enterprises in Colchester

The development of new office units for dynamic knowledge-based small and medium businesses at the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus has taken a step closer thanks to investment from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

Around 125 new jobs could be created thanks to £2.4 million of Growing Places Funding (GPF) being invested into the Parkside Office Village scheme by SELEP - a business-led body stimulating economic growth in East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.

The money will be used to support the first phase of the Parkside development on the University’s 42 acre business research and development park known as the Knowledge Gateway. When complete the Knowledge Gateway could provide a total of up to 2,000 new high value jobs.

SELEP Chairman, John Spence, said: “One of our key priorities is to create an environment where businesses of all sizes can grow and flourish and which enable us achieve our overall goal of creating the most enterprising economy in England.

“Schemes like this in Colchester, along with the other projects we are funding across the SELEP area, help us achieve this.”

Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “I am delighted that SELEP is backing our commitment to support businesses here in the county by providing funding for this project.

“It is essential that we invest in creating the conditions for small and medium sized businesses to flourish – whether they are start-ups or established companies, they all play an important role in the county’s economy and future.”

University Registrar Bryn Morris said: “We are delighted to be working with the SELEP to support its drive for economic growth. We are one of the UK’s top ten universities for research quality and the Parkside Office Village scheme will enable us to further develop our links with business to stimulate innovation and support sustainable growth.

“The availability of this new business space at our Colchester Campus will be a valuable extension to the facilities we offer.”

The Parkside Office Village scheme is one of up to 20 schemes SELEP is supporting with around £49 million GPF funding. In total they have the potential of creating over 20,630 jobs directly and indirectly, and the potential for unlocking around 25,000 new homes

GPF is a government scheme which is designed to boost economic growth by getting the required infrastructure built to enable the creation of new homes and jobs and get stalled projects moving again.

SELEP It is operating the fund as a revolving infrastructure fund allowing it to support additional schemes in the future. The majority of the GPF awards provided by SELEP are in the form of a loan which is repayable over an agreed period.

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