University Enterprise Zone

Getting in the zone for business

Group of business people discussing ideas at a computer

New funding to help businesses to grow

We’re a University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) designated by the Government as a centre for nurturing and supporting new digital and creative businesses.

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.

Over the next two years we’ll be focussing on increasing business and job creation by providing budding entrepreneurs with advice and practical support.

The UEZ at Essex will:

  • Launch ‘Space to Grow’ - an innovative three-month programme which will immerse participants in the digital creative industry – academics, including IT specialists, designers and business experts will work with them to help make their business and product ideas a reality.
  • Deliver ‘Angels@Essex’ a crowdfunding platform to provide the necessary finance to allow businesses to develop and grow.
  • Provide additional high-tech equipment and software in Studio X – the University’s digital creative studio and home to the student business start-up programme.
  • Establish ‘work anywhere’ Wi-Fi 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.
“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.