The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has this week announced a new part-Government funded project – delivered in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University – set to promote entrepreneurship and support start-up businesses in the county.
The new Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre will give companies access to lab spaces, experts and professional networks. It’s also hoped that the new project will support the creation of at least 17 start-up companies and 74 jobs too.
The announcement follows recent global attention on Oxfordshire’s research and innovation excellence, with the county leading the way in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The centre hopes to capitalise upon this excellence as well as Oxfordshire’s dense network of research, knowledge-intensive businesses and skilled workers – essential to a successful ‘innovation ecosystem’.
The Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre will focus on health and life sciences and the digital technologies sector. It will provide premises for spinout and early stage companies with laboratory space, co-working space, meeting rooms and a multi-purpose enterprise space.
Associated research, business and professional support networks will also deepen collaboration and accelerate the commercialisation of new ideas.
OxLEP secured £837,000 of funding for the project via the government’s Local Growth Fund. The Local Growth Fund investment aims to allow LEPs to use their local knowledge to promote growth in their individual regions.
OxLEP is one of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England playing a key role in driving forward economic growth and – by 2021 – it’s expected that central Government will have invested over £12bn into the UK economy via the Local Growth Fund.
Analysis has shown that for every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested, £4.81 in benefits could be generated.
Since its inception in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured over £660m-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen more than 48,000 new jobs created in the county to-date.
In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.
Nigel Tipple – OxLEP Chief Executive – said: “The confirmation of such a significant project – that will have a positive impact on our already world-class and globally-renowned innovation ecosystem – is excellent news.
“As the local enterprise partnership for Oxfordshire, we want to ensure our county benefits from a business environment that is fit-for-purpose, supporting dynamic economic growth.
“We were delighted to have secured such a major Local Growth Fund allocation for this project and we are sure it can be a real asset to Oxfordshire, something which is vital as we begin the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
David Hartley – Commercial and Knowledge Exchange Director at Oxford Brookes University – added: “This is an exciting development for Oxfordshire's ambitious entrepreneurs and for the University.
“The project will have a positive ripple effect within our local economy, bringing new jobs and investment. Supporting not only with a physical space and excellent facilities but also with our research, expertise and enterprise community, we’re delighted to be helping a new generation of innovators and young businesses kickstart their ideas.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “A Local Growth Fund investment of over £830,000 will help to cement Oxfordshire’s reputation as a world-leading hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.
“It’s fantastic news that the Enterprise Centre will create 74 new jobs and help many new businesses to emerge, supporting the region’s economy as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic.
“This government is levelling up towns and cities across the country to help them to grow and prosper, encouraging further inward investment and delivering opportunities to communities.”
Pictured above: Oxford Brookes University's campus in Headington.