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Posted 08/05/2013

£791,000 BID SUCCESS TO SUPPORT BUSINESS START-UPS IN THE COUNTY

The University has been successful in winning a bid for EU funding to set up facilities for start-up businesses in Gloucestershire and to continue to support the Quays Creative project in Gloucester, set up by Gloucester City Council.

The £791,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will enable the set-up of additional sites at Blackfriars in Gloucester and Isbourne House and the University£s Park campus in Cheltenham.

Match funding has been provided by Gloucester City Council through the Homes and Community Agency and the University of Gloucestershire.

The business incubation scheme will be managed by the University and will provide serviced office space, in a supportive environment, for over 35 start-up businesses. In addition, the project will provide business planning advice, mentoring and skills development for those tenants to ensure they are well-placed to grow and succeed.

The incubation scheme is part of the Innovation Gloucestershire project offering a range of support services to the wider community of entrepreneurs in the county. The project has the objective of improving the survival and success rates of over 100 Gloucestershire businesses over a three-year period.

Laura Crabb, Head of Business Development at the University, said: "The principal objective of the incubation project is to reduce the number of early stage businesses which fail in their first few years of operation, which in Gloucestershire is a relatively high proportion. Entrepreneurs are key to economic recovery and the on-going success of Gloucestershire£s business community, particularly those involved in creative and digital arenas. As the county£s University, we are proud of the role we play in supporting local economic development and, working in partnership with the local councils and GFirst, this project will create a truly cohesive offer for start-ups in Gloucestershire."

"We are delighted that ERDF have funded this programme of support and incubation for local entrepreneurs and look forward to working with them to draw in more support from around the region. This project also allows us to support some of the great start-up companies coming out of our own institution and to work with students to realise their ambitions."

Paul James, Leader of Gloucester City Council commented: "The Quays Creative incubator project was set up nearly three years ago as part of the Gloucester Supports Business Programme. During that time it has gone from strength to strength and to date more than 50 fledgling businesses have been helped."

"The recent Duport report has shown 2012 was a record year for company formation in Gloucester. Between January and December, there were 208 new company formations - more than any other year on record for the city and a 5% rise on 2011.2

He added: "We approached the University of Gloucestershire as we were keen to extend our provision for small business. We have worked very closely with them to secure this much needed ERDF funding. I am delighted that we will now be able to offer a choice of two sites at Quays Creative and at Blackfriars which will provide quality subsidised office space for small businesses.

"We want this positive trend to continue and to help businesses further we have put together an even bigger and better package of support, including financial help. This project with the University is another important piece of that jigsaw."

Councillor Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council is also delighted to be supporting the scheme. He said: "This is a great idea and one which we are supportive of. I'm sure that the centres will help greatly with both local entrepreneurialism and business growth."

Martin Quantock, manager of Cheltenham Business Partnership added: "We are looking forward to working with the University on this initiative to encourage and support start-ups in the town. It aligns with the business support service Cheltenham Borough Council has recently commissioned, including free advice clinics for those looking to start or grow a business."

David Owen, chief executive of GFirst LEP, added: "We have a number of innovative businesses in the county and want to encourage local entrepreneurs to grow here. Creating a wealth of sustainable start-up businesses is something that will be vital for Gloucestershire£s future growth and this initiative aligns with our 2020 Vision for the county. Together we will ensure that Gloucestershire is a strong destination for business start-ups to thrive."

The scheme is already underway, with the successful Quays Creative scheme in Gloucester and the additional centres due to launch in June.

Earlier this year, the University was awarded £286,000 to support innovation and growth in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Gloucestershire through an £innovation voucher£ scheme. The scheme will offer financial support to business for projects ranging from £3,000 to £10,000 to each participating company.

For more information about the incubation scheme or the innovation vouchers, please call 01242 714104, email business@glos.ac.uk or visit www.glos.ac.uk/forbusiness

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