OxLEP today (18 February) announced the completion of a new part-Government funded project that is being delivered in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University, supporting start-up businesses and entrepreneurship in the County.
The new Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre, based at the University’s Headington campus, offers companies access to lab and office spaces, experts and professional networks.
The new project will support the creation of at least 17 start-up companies and 74 jobs, and will advance the growth of small and medium businesses by providing them with an inspiring, relaxed, and friendly co-working space.
This will facilitate the cultivation of ideas, develop meaningful relationships, and support local business growth.
The centre is perfectly situated to capitalise on Oxfordshire’s dense network of research, knowledge-intensive businesses and skilled workers, essential to a successful ‘innovation ecosystem’.
The Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre focuses on health and life sciences, as well as the digital technologies sector, providing premises for spinout and early-stage companies with laboratory space, co-working space, offices, meeting rooms and multi-purpose enterprise space.
Research staff at the university and established research networks will operate in the same environment as the new Enterprise Centre, promoting opportunities for collaboration. In addition, there is the option to harness additional support from postgraduate students.
Following a successful opening on 1 February this year, the Enterprise Centre has already received high levels of interest, with site tours booked throughout the month and discussions with future occupants taking place.
The Enterprise Centre is supported by OxLEP – their role is to champion Oxfordshire’s economic potential, acting as a catalyst and convener to drive a dynamic, sustainable and growing economy.
OxLEP secured £837,000 of funding for the project via the government’s Local Growth Fund, with the total cost of the project at £2.1m.
The Local Growth Fund investment aims to allow LEPs to use their local knowledge to promote growth in their individual regions.
Since its launch in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – have secured around £1bn-worth of investment for the Oxfordshire economy, supporting the creation of around 65,000 new jobs between 2011 and 2019 – representing over two-thirds a 2031 target of 85,600 new jobs.
Promoting growth in the region
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.
In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £3.1bn growth programme for the county.
Nigel Tipple, OxLEP Chief Executive, said: “The completion of such a significant project – set to 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 in our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Professor Linda King, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Global Partnerships at Oxford Brookes University added: “We are very excited to have the opportunity to host high growth start-ups in the Enterprise Centre who will be positively contributing to the student experience at Oxford Brookes.
“With opportunities to speak in lectures, mentor student businesses and host expert clinics we plan to develop a thriving ecosystem of learning and teaching through the Enterprise Centre.”