University Enterprise Zone

Getting in the zone for business

Group of business people discussing ideas at a computer

As part of our new UEZ status, Research England and the UK Government has committed £800,000 towards the £1.3 million Accelerating Innovation at the Knowledge Gateway project based at our Colchester Campus, to grow and commercialise ideas for the benefit of the UK economy.

Over the next two years we’ll be focussing on increasing business and job creation by providing budding entrepreneurs with advice and practical support, together with access to the funding necessary to scale or grow ambitious businesses.

Our four key areas of UEZ activity

Space to Grow start-up support webinar series

An innovative support programme, Space to Grow immerses participants in the digital creative industry.

Academics, including IT specialists, designers and business experts work with start-up businesses to help make their business and product ideas a reality.

Space to Grow provides businesses access to webinars and specialist one-to-one support to help commercialise ideas and raise the necessary funding to grow your business at any stage. Contact for more information and view more about Space to Grow including our events.

Sign up to the Space to Grow newsletter.  

Angels@Essex investor platform 

A crowdfunding platform to provide the necessary finance to allow businesses to develop and grow.

Angels@Essex is a regulated, invitation-only crowdfunding platform that links angel investors to entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, allowing the growth of new and exciting disruptive technologies to flourish.

Contact with your contact details to receive further information on how to invest or apply for funding and your invitation to join.

Sign up to the Angels@Essex newsletter. 

High-tech equipment and software for Studio X

Studio X is the University’s digital creative studio and home to the student business start-up programme.

Access the necessary equipment and expertise to develop your idea and create your reality in virtual environments; find out more at

Work anywhere Wi-Fi 

The University Enterprise Zone will establish ‘Wifi Everywhere’ on the Knowledge Gateway and across the University campus to ensure wherever you are, you have an easy-access connection without having to log into separate networks.

The University is leading the way with an all embracing one WiFi access anywhere providing instant and constant connection across the entire campus, improving productivity and making education easier for all to enjoy.

“This provides national recognition of the Knowledge Gateway's strategic importance and further momentum to our aspirations to make it the location of choice in the eastern region for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and the creative sector. We've been working towards this status over the last five years, with over £50 million of investment."
Professor Anthony Forster Vice-Chancellor, University of Essex

University Enterprise Zones were first established in four pilot areas in 2015 – the aim was to encourage universities and businesses to work together to increase local growth and innovation. Essex is one of 20 new zones to be created.

Meet our UEZ team

 Elizabeth Guyar-Brown

Project Manager


Liz has overall responsibility for the development and co-ordination of the four work packages: Space to Grow, Angels@Essex, Studio X, and Wi-Fi Everywhere. Working closely with the work package leads, supports the smooth running of the governance and delivery structures. Liz is an experienced Project Manager, having previously worked at BBC Learning, where she was responsible for large scale campaigns and events. Since joining the University of Essex in 2009 she has worked on a range of strategic projects, most recently Liz lead the Careers Services Team.

 John Stenhouse

Business Support Manager


John is an industry and private practice professional financial and management accountant, serving many sectors with boardroom advice. Having a career as a serial entrepreneur, investor, owner and managing director of a number of companies, ranging from SME to PLC, John has a broad yet detailed understanding of commercial business alongside public sector business support. He recently led and developed the Angels@Essex equity investment platform for the University of Essex, linking investors to innovative opportunities that will create sustainable economic growth.

 Josh Clarke

Business Support Coordinator


As Business Support Coordinator, Josh has developed significant experience working on a variety of projects, and has a strong understanding of the importance of building positive relationships with external stakeholders. The experience Josh has gained from starting up a business himself, and successfully pitching for private investment, has given him valuable insight for this project, alongside a strong understanding of what appeals to investors.

 Caelin Toms

Administrative Officer


With a background in Film Studies, event planning for university societies, and her work at AIXR, Caelin is skilled at marketing, social media, event management, and communications. She provides support for local growing businesses and projects in the University Enterprise Zone programme, including supporting investors and start-up businesses looking for funding through the Angels@Essex investment platform, assisting in the implementation of the Space to Grow programme to help get businesses investment-ready, and supporting Studio X activities.

Our upcoming business events

Discover the very latest business events hosted by the University of Essex. From networking events to conferences, you can stay up to date with our calendar here.

Discover our upcoming events