Students Staff

21 September 2016

Boost for smart business as Knowledge Gateway research and technology park continues to grow

Latest phase of Parkside Office Village

Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster, SELEP Chairman Christian Brodie and Deputy Cabinet Member for Broadband and Enterprise Cllr Penny Channer help open the latest phase of Parkside

The latest phase of a multi-million scheme to put Essex at the heart of the UK's digital and hi-tech economy has been unveiled at Parkside Office Village on the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway research and technology park in Colchester.

The new £1.1m building will become home to the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Business and Local Government Data Research Centre and the award-winning Games Hub, a learning centre for the next generation of video game creators, plus the University’s own Institute for Analytics and Data Science.

South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has supported Parkside Office Village from its inception, providing loan funding of £2.4m from the Government’s Growing Places Fund for the first phase. This latest development phase was supported by a further £850,000 in funding.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from South East Local Enterprise Partnership. This has been crucial in developing Parkside Office Village as a hotspot for innovative businesses.

“SELEP and our partners - including Essex County Council, Colchester Borough Council, Essex Chamber of Commerce and the Haven Gateway Partnership - are helping us fulfil our vision. Our strategic aim is for the Knowledge Gateway to be the location of choice in the eastern region for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and the creative sector.”

Christian Brodie, Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Parkside Office Village is a glowing example of business and education working together to further the economic growth and development of our region.

“It is a fine model of Government funds being used on projects identified by SELEP and local authorities, in the right places and with the right focus to produce long term gains for the South East.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Partnerships, said: “Parkside Office Village is a fantastic initiative and I am delighted to see this first phase reach completion. It is great to see it become home to so many innovative businesses.

“We are proud of the work we do to foster entrepreneurial spirit, create jobs and grow the local economy. Schemes like Parkside Office Village really show that Essex Means Business. We now look forward to welcoming more and more businesses to the park with future phases of the development.”

Councillor Tim Young, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Culture said: “The progress that has been made with Knowledge Gateway has been remarkable both for the University of Essex and for Colchester as a whole. The economic benefits for the borough are significant, enabling job creation and providing the skills and facilities for businesses to grow.”

Councillor Annie Feltham, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Business and Leisure Opportunities said: “Colchester Borough Council is proud to support this development and will continue to work in partnership to ensure that the Knowledge Gateway continues to meet its strategic business aims.”

Professor Forster added: “This latest phase is a fantastic addition to the Knowledge Gateway community. The expertise within this new phase of Parkside will help public and private sector organisations unlock the highly valuable knowledge their data contains – helping them make better business decisions, improve their operations, deliver services more effectively and gain the competitive edge.”

Exterior of latest phase of Parkside Office Village

Work will start on the new £10 million Innovation Centre before the end of the year. The Innovation Centre will act as a dynamo for further growth across the whole site by offering the space, resources and expertise to attract businesses wishing to innovate and scale-up, and by fostering the development of young companies and hi-tech start-ups. It will be able to accommodate more than 50 start-up businesses.

Alongside the Innovation Centre, a further phase of Parkside Office Village has planning permission to potentially provide a further 40,000 sq ft of vibrant, modern office space.

Businesses joining the SME community on the Knowledge Gateway have access to networking opportunities, research expertise, talented and work-ready graduates, business support services, and excellent on-campus facilities.

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