Scheme taps in on region’s science base

A NEW enterprise and innovation drive has been hailed as “good news” for the region’s economy.

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) says the four-year programme, which will support “high potential” business ventures arising out of research carried out in the region, will create new jobs and boost economic growth from its “exceptionally strong” science and technology base.

EEDA has chosen the University of Cambridge’s IfM Education Consultancy Services Limited (IfM-ECS) to lead the programme, which is called the ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator (iEA).

The scheme will help the region’s enterprise communities to start and grow new research- and innovation-led businesses, as well as providing strategic direction for the region’s technology enterprise and entrepreneurship activities.

Early-stage and start-up firms in the region will be given support and training to help them grow and create new jobs.

Based in the Hauser Forum on the West Cambridge campus, the programme will develop the existing University of Cambridge ideaSpace initiative, building on the results already achieved in its first 18 months of operation.

During that time, ideaSpace it has enabled has supported more than 1,000 training opportunities and currently has 55 members running 34 ventures from its offices in the Hauser Forum.

Most Read

It will focus on EEDA’s key programme areas, including life sciences and healthcare, ICT, advanced manufacturing/engineering and low carbon innovation and build an ‘enterprise community’ by cooperating with the region’s universities’ research departments and technology transfer offices, existing innovation and business resources, and enterprise hubs.

EEDA’s executive director of innovation Dr Paul May said the new expanded programme was good news for the region’s economy.

“We have been seeking a strong partner to help guide the iEA programme’s development going forward.

“We believe that IfM ECS’ experience of delivering business support programmes, and its understanding of SMEs and early-stage and start-up firms, makes it is the best organisation to do this.”

Dr May said IfM-ECS had a number of powerful tools and resources which could help research- and innovation-led enterprises.

“This agreement signals the faith we have in the eastern region to deliver economic growth from our exceptionally strong science and technology base.”

Peter Templeton, IfM-ECS chief executive, said it woud attract new businesses to the region, as well as creating new jobs. “The extended programme enables us to play a clear and distinctive role in the innovation eco-system,” he said.