Vince Cable Opens Keele University Nova Centre (video)

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Posted on 13 September 2012

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, officially opened Keele University’s dedicated business growth programme – The Nova Centre - this week and highlighted the important role that Universities can play in helping to support business.

Based at the entrance to campus at Keele University Science and Business Park (KUSBP), the Nova Centre is a converted farmhouse offering specially refurbished office space for eight fledgling businesses on a dedicated two-year enterprise programme.

Speaking at the opening, the Business Secretary talked about the need for support and mentoring for small enterprises and praised the collaborative approach between Keele University and local businesses.  

He commented: “The Government wants to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business and to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy. Ventures such as the Nova Centre at Keele University can help us achieve that goal through offering specialist support for businesses in their early stages of trading to help them grow and create jobs.”

The scheme is just one of a number of initiatives that the University is running as part of its wider commitment to supporting the local economy. Aimed at helping these companies achieve sustainable growth, the programme offers support and tailored advice on topics ranging from sales and marketing to HR, finance performance and strategy, as well as opportunities to network. Members of the professional services business community including accountants, solicitors and marketers, have also pledged to give their time for free to help move these businesses in the right direction.

So far, six businesses in a variety of industries have set up at the Nova Centre. They were selected through a competitive process, judged by a special steering group, and will be based there for two years before making way for new businesses to join the programme.

One of the companies to secure a place at the Nova Centre is DK Design. Set up by two friends, the design agency joined the Nova Centre earlier this year and is now looking to recruit a new member of the design team to help grow the business.

Kate Salmon, designer and partner at DK Design, said: “We have plans to expand quickly over the next couple of years and hopefully recruit further so are looking forward to making the most of being based at the Nova Centre and the tailored support offered by the growth programme to achieve this.”

Vice-Chancellor at Keele University, Professor Nick Foskett, added: “We are delighted to have the support of Vince Cable in officially opening the Nova Centre. His attendance highlights the important role that universities have to play in supporting UK businesses. In the current economic climate it is vital that small companies get the support they need to grow and recruit and at Keele we have a variety of resources that businesses can tap into to help them reach their potential.  By maximising knowledge transfer between the institution, academics and businesses we can help students, graduates and companies in the wider community achieve their entrepreneurial goals and the Nova Centre is a good example of how this relationship can work successfully.”

There are now just two places remaining for businesses at the Nova Centre. Companies interested in gaining a place onto the business growth programme must be able to demonstrate a desire to expand and create jobs and will be assessed on the strength of their business plan by the Nova Centre Steering Group. For further information, contact Lucy Delaney at KUSBP on 01782 734603.