Innovation Centre opens its doors

  • Date

    Fri 26 Apr 19

Innovation Centre team

Our new £12 million business centre, designed to bolster the region’s emerging science, technology and digital creative industries, will officially open its doors on Monday (29 April).

The purpose-built Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway will deliver flexible workspace and support for up to 50 enterprises.

Oxford Innovation, the UK’s largest Innovation Centre operator, has just agreed a partnership with the University of Essex to manage the centre and has put together a team ready to help “propel innovation”. 

Jo Stevens, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation, said: “We are thrilled to have put together an expert team to manage the centre and help propel innovation in the region. We are committed to supporting the next generation of business leaders to reach their potential, creating jobs and boosting the economy in the process. Being part of the Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway is a further demonstration of our ambition.”

The team includes Centre Director Dan Smart, who has experience in delivering developmental, technical and exploratory courses in the education sector as well as in senior management for a start-up company in the renewable energy sector. Innovation Director Neil Griffin also joins, bringing 15 years’ experience in a strategically-driven, commercial management environment as well as being a key part of the growth of brewers Adnams. Assistant Centre Manager Georgine Watts, who has a wealth of experience in facility management, completes the management team, while Angela Baker and Bryony Shuter are joining as Customer Experience Assistants.

They will be working with the University’s Research and Enterprise Office team, led by Vanessa Cuthill, Director, and James Cracknell, who will be leading Studio X – home to the university’s digital creative collaborative studio and student start-up programme - based on the ground floor of the centre.

Vanessa said “My team and the wider University are delighted to be working with Oxford Innovation to offer support and opportunities to help businesses succeed.  We look forward to welcoming new businesses into the Innovation Centre and connecting them with our world-leading researchers and talented students.”

The centre includes a café, areas for students to develop business ideas and space to showcase research, linked to the creative and digital sectors. It is being backed by £2 million of funding from Essex County Council and £2 million from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.