The new incubation and accelerator facility in the Mellor building was developed as part of the Innovation Enterprise Zone (IEZ) – one of just 20 University Enterprise Zones in the country, supported with investment from Research England.
The £6m investment in facilities has also funded innovation labs which are equipped with the very latest advanced materials and advanced manufacturing technology, for use by companies wanting to design, prototype and test new products. The latest addition has been a new £720,000 Creative Lab, a digitally enabled creative workspace designed to stimulate collaboration and spark new ideas for products and start-up businesses.
Welcoming the businesses to Staffordshire University, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Designate Professor Martin Jones said: “A lot of the development of the Innovation Enterprise Zone has happened during the pandemic but we’re now at a point where we can actively begin to promote enterprise education and innovation and that starts here today with you. I invite you to get your colleagues and friends involved in what will positively impact the region’s economy.”
Marek Hornak, Associate Dean for Employer Partnerships & Enterprise added: “We’re looking to partner with innovative companies with growth ambitions beyond Staffordshire, who can benefit from our research and expertise and add value to our region in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”
New and established SMEs, including a drone delivery company, a projection mapping business and an automation and control systems specialist, have recently taken office and desk space at the University. Many of the new business clients are also eligible for a range of funded projects which provide access to student talent, academic support and cutting-edge technology.
Sonya Farrell, Creative Director with PR company Baba Baboon and a graduate of Staffordshire University, said : “I think it’s absolutely fantastic, there are so many facilities I can access and so many opportunities I can see for the future. Not only do I want to build up a rapport by having students on work placement, but I’d hopefully like to employ more people in the next few years.”
Another Staffordshire University graduate, Chris Daniels, set up web development company Cyber Kiln two years ago. He added: “A lot of stuff I want to do with my business, Staffordshire University has the specialist kit to support. I would hope to bring the students over and get them to work and use their creative minds to come up with something that’s really awesome and can help put Stoke-on-Trent back on the map.”
Steve Hargreaves, Employer Partnership Development Manager said “We are building a fantastic community of businesses here in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent. We still have several private offices available to rent at competitive rates. Due to the high demand, we are expanding our hot desking offer which gives a low-cost office base, ideal for start-ups or new businesses that don’t need their own private office but would like working space, facilities, equipment and a great network."
Find out more about the business support on offer or email our Employer Partnerships team at email@example.com