Keele’s Smart Innovation Hub celebrates two years of supporting local businesses
Keele University is celebrating two years of the Smart Innovation Hub this week, with over 200 local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) benefitting from support via the landmark facility.
The collaborative workspace, which is uniquely co-located alongside the University’s Business School within the state-of-the-art Denise Coates Foundation Building on the University’s Science and Innovation Park, was officially opened in January 2020.
Since then, the Smart Innovation Hub has facilitated multiple support programmes for innovation-led businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. It has enabled them to work collaboratively with Keele’s talented students, experienced academics and expert professionals, during the global pandemic, where the economic recovery across the region has been paramount.
The programmes, which are fully-funded and available exclusively to local SMEs, have supported hundreds of businesses to develop and grow. They include:
- an Innovation Leadership programme, designed to support aspirational business leaders in developing the skills, knowledge and attributes needed to take their business to the next level;
- a Research and Innovation Support programme, which helps businesses through a collaborative bespoke research project targeted at eliminating their barriers to growth;
- the New Enterprise Base Camp, a masterclass which offers innovative and ambitious early-stage and established small businesses the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills.
The Denise Coates Foundation Building also features Innovation Centre 6 – 7,500ft of modern start-up, grow-on, co-working and individual office workspace which currently houses over 20 companies, one of which is public service transformation consultancy, Mondrem.
Mondrem were one of the first tenants to move into the building and they have benefitted from participation in both the Innovation Leadership and Research and Innovation Support programmes, as well as using Keele’s internship programme to hire ten students into their workforce.
Mike Astbury, Managing Director at Mondrem, said: “Working from Keele’s Smart Innovation Hub has been brilliant for us, opening up opportunities to collaborate with the other tenants. Being based on campus has also allowed us to use our interns’ university contacts, which will help us in future collaborative projects."
“The Keele package here provides excellent things such as improved connections, access to research and frankly all kinds of things that I never knew existed before. Being so close to a potential workforce of talented young people is an amazing thing to be part of.”
Dr Nick Gostick, Director of the Smart Innovation Hub, said: “When we officially opened this brilliant facility two years ago, none of us could have anticipated the world-changing events that would take place in the weeks and months that followed. The pandemic has had an impact on everyone, not least the local business community, but I am proud that our team has been able to continue supporting the region’s businesses to adapt, grow and recover during these difficult times."
“Many of our previous programme participants have cited our business support programmes as a catalyst for positive change within their organisation, and many of our tenants are currently growing faster than they imagined thanks to the unique benefits of being located at the heart of Keele University."
“I am proud of the impact that the Smart Innovation Hub has had over the past two years, and look forward to supporting even more organisations to reach their potential over the next 12 months and beyond.”
Discover how Keele University can support your business by getting in touch for a confidential discussion. keele.ac.uk/business/contactus/
The Keele University Science and Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub (Ref No:32R17P01691) / Innovation Centre 6, located within the Denise Coates Foundation Building, has been part-funded by the European Reginal Development Fund as part of England Growth Programme 2014-2020, the Midlands Engine and Staffordshire County Council with support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
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