Within the range of support measures currently available, University-backed business incubators represent one of the most important ways enterprising young people can access relevant advice and resources.
Aldermore explores how the country’s leading incubator facilities can aid budding young entrepreneurs, and identifies some of the success stories to have already emerged from these initiatives.
Innospace at Manchester Metropolitan University
Founded by Manchester Metropolitan University, Innospace offers a central hub for university students, graduates and staff looking to pursue their business dreams. Offering a range of options from office space and free WiFi access to advice on areas such as accounting, recruitment and marketing, Innospace aims to foster a culture of collaboration and community between its member businesses.
The incubator has already launched a number of successful businesses, including travel company Mainstage Travel, which recently secured a £100,000 investment on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
InfoLab21 at Lancaster University
Opening its doors in 2005, Lancaster University’s InfoLab21 gives fledgling local businesses a welcome boost through a variety of networking events and workshops, also winning the British Council for Offices’ prize for Best Corporate Workplace. The incubator draws particularly on the University’s specialisms in computing and communications to share expertise with young firms within the region.
Aldermore is glad to see this level of support available to enable aspiring young entrepreneurs to reach their goals and hopes to see many more incubator-bred SME success stories in years to come.
The SETsquared Partnership
The SETsquared Partnership is a collaborative effort between the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey which won the title of UKBI’s Business Incubation Champion 2013.
The Partnership runs a number of student enterprise competitions to motivate students, and has produced some notable young businesses including technology firm TorqBak, which is looking to expand 200 per cent in the next few months.
Sussex Innovation Centre
Sussex Innovation Centre, owned by the University of Sussex, combines spacious office facilities with additional services including assistance with fundraising and business strategies, delivered in conjunction with established business partners.
Progressive motorcycle safety firm ThermaHelm has achieved significant progress through operating from the Centre, enabling the business to bring its revolutionary cooling crash helmet to market.
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