At the official opening of our new Essex Business School building, our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, described how working collaboratively with regional business is key to our success.
Essex has a great Business School and in just 10 years from its creation, it is now ranked in the top 25 business schools in the country for the quality of our research, with two-thirds of our research rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
Essex Business School has more than 1,700 students from more than 130 countries including some 300 postgraduates. Essex Business School is therefore our largest academic department here at the University of Essex.
We hope you will agree we have created a fitting new home for our Business School staff and our students. This is the UK’s first zero-carbon business school building, and is designed to reflect our own ethos of sustainability in educating the business leaders of tomorrow.
The building itself is a living and breathing entity. The winter garden dome gives the building its own micro-climate; recycled rainwater cools the building during warmer months; and more than one tonne of carbon is saved per day through the energy-efficient design, and I have to say we are pretty pleased with it.
Key to our success
We know that working collaboratively with businesses across the East of England is key to our success, and through investments like the new business school building on the Knowledge Gateway, we are keen to play our full part in creating new jobs, increasing productivity in the public and private sector and generating jobs and growth.
In December we announced that, as a University, we contribute nearly half a billion pounds to the Eastern region economy, but we know we can do more, and we have some great plans.
With the generous support from the South-East Local Enterprise Partnership, we opened the first phase of 15,000 square feet of office space in 2014. The demand for space has been so high, that today 18 small businesses have filled the original office village units. And they’re gaining from the benefits as full members of our campus community.
We are also building the second phase of Parkside Office Village, 4,000 square feet of new office space where innovative small businesses can flourish, and this will open later this year.
The location of choice
We want the Knowledge Gateway to be the location of choice in the eastern region for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and the creative sector. Locating the Essex Business School on Knowledge Gateway is a watershed moment for us, and we are now eagerly anticipating the creation of a new 40,000 square foot £10 million Innovation Centre, accommodating up to 52 new start-up companies and supporting them.
I’m delighted to announce that we have just received planning permission to build the Innovation Centre, which is planned to open in the summer of 2017 and which we hope will be a partnership with Essex County Council.
As well as welcoming more small and medium-sized enterprises to join us here on campus, we also offer a whole range of services and support to businesses in other ways.
From our MBA, through to hands-on consultancy, such as unlocking the power of data as leaders in advanced and big data analytics, to tackling logistical problems that can speed-up business processes and efficiency , our team of business account managers match businesses up with the right kind of academic expertise to help solve real-world business problems.
And, as a University whose students have voted us in the top ten for student satisfaction three years running, we offer businesses a range of great options to recruit our graduates for one-off projects, internships or placements; getting fresh-thinking graduate initiative into business operations.
New opportunities for 2016
We are planning a series of new networking opportunities for businesses, big and small, who want to work with us in 2016, from year-round events with open lectures, to innovation network events and a Business Partners Club. And we have first-class facilities for corporate hospitality at our luxury Wivenhoe House Hotel, and you’ll get a taster of what’s on offer in just a few minutes.
I would like to say thank you to Birkett Long for its support. They have a long standing relationship with the University which includes offering Essex students work placements and internships and employment opportunities for our graduates.
As we celebrate the opening of this incredible new building, and its role in providing fresh thinking to help business flourish, I hope that you have a very clear sense that the University of Essex is open for business.