Small business minister Anna Soubry has officially opened the Advanced Technology Innovation Centre in Leicestershire, as the government looks to transform the midlands into the UK’s ‘engine for growth.’
Innovation and technology
Based at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP), the hub is expected to create around 750 jobs for people in the local area.
The new development hopes to bring small technology firms away from London, which has higher operating costs than anywhere else in the UK.
Partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the department for business, innovation and skills (BIS), the hub will provide SMEs with flexible working spaces including workshops, labs and studios.
Despite being officially opened on October 26th, there are a number of small tech firms already operating in the hub, including Nemaura Pharma, which designs new ways to deliver medicines using nanotechnology and ELUXI, which specialises in lasers and optics.
Riccardo Tomassoni, Director of ELUXI, is delighted with his new workspace as it gives his company multiple benefits that they haven’t found anywhere else.
‘‘The chance to relocate the ELUXI offices to the new Advanced Technology Innovation Centre (ATIC) was an opportunity we simply couldn’t pass up,’’ said Tomassoni.
‘‘The central location has afforded us excellent transportation links both nationally and internationally and, whilst we have only just moved in, we are looking forward to developing relationships with those university research groups involved in photonics.’’
‘Engine for growth’
This latest announcement is part of the government’s plans to pass down powers to English cities. In May, SME Insider reported that George Osborne has promised that areas such as Greater Manchester will soon have more power regarding local policing and health services.
The government is now looking to transform the Midlands into an engine for growth. In 2014, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership City Deal was signed and then secured around £12m of government funding.
Soubry is delighted with the progress made in the SME community so far, and in two weeks is set to open the Leicester Business Festival with a speech encouraging private firms and investors to get involved in the Midlands engine for growth and boost the local economy.
‘‘Leicester and Leicestershire are vital components in the Midlands engine for growth and that is why we are backing plans to boost investment and create more jobs for people. I want to see the local firms and community leaders, who know the area best, in the driving seat for these plans,’’ declared Soubry.
‘‘The Advanced Technology Innovation Centre at Loughborough University is a great example of the support available for small businesses that want to grow and innovate in Leicestershire.’’