Farnborough Aerospace Consortium
Excellent ROI
Home > News & Publications > News > Recent News

New 7.3m Canterbury Innovation Centre set to attract high-tech businesses to Kent

3 December 2008
canterbury soil breaking

Regional Minister, Jonathan Shaw MP
(second from left) and SEEDA's Lee Amor
(second from right) at ground-breaking
ceremony for £7.3m Canterbury Innovation Centre.

canterbury innovation centre1
canterbury innovation centre2
Artists views of the Canterbury Innovation Centre.

Pioneering entrepreneurs are a step closer to starting up new businesses in Kent, thanks to the Minister for the South East, Jonathan Shaw MP. He set the diggers rolling at the ground-breaking ceremony for a multi-million pound business development, on Wednesday 3rd December 2008.

Minister for the South East, Jonathan Shaw MP, said:

"I am delighted to be in at the very start of the Canterbury Innovation Centre which will lead to further developments in innovation and enterprise not only in Kent but also from international companies. Today's ceremony marks not only the beginning of building work on this multi-million pound project; but also looks forward to years of new opportunities for businesses and education in Kent."

The £7.3m Canterbury Innovation Centre is being funded by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and will provide much needed high-tech incubation space and support for budding entrepreneurs. The Innovation Centre aims to be a magnet for local start-ups as well as those from further afield, including the USA, Israel, Singapore and Europe.

SEEDA has been working closely with the East Kent Spatial Development Company (EKSDC), University of Kent, Canterbury Enterprise Hub and Canterbury City Council on the project which is set to put Canterbury on the map for technology as well as tourism.

Part of SEEDA's economic strategy for the South East is to get more businesses and experts in universities working together on research and development projects to help make companies more competitive.

Lee Amor, Executive Director of Development at SEEDA, said:

"The Canterbury Innovation Centre is a real opportunity to develop the links between the east Kent economy and the University of Kent. It will provide an ideal environment for businesses to establish themselves and grow, making the most of the knowledge and skills that the local universities are generating. I am delighted that SEEDA is supporting its partners to deliver this important project."

The Innovation Centre is due for completion in October 2009, to support the expected economic upturn, and will provide almost 25,000 sq ft of offices, studios and workshops. The Innovation Centre is part of the University’s strategy to encourage innovation and enterprise within the University and to make it more attractive for graduates to stay and work locally.

The University tested demand for the Innovation Centre by setting up a smaller pilot scheme at the campus in 2005, called the Canterbury Enterprise Hub, which currently has a long waiting list. Tenants include award winning and fast expanding enterprises such as Oil Drum Limited, recent winners of the Kent Innovation Challenge 2008. They will be among the first companies to be offered space in the new Innovation Centre when its doors open next year. The emphasis will be on attracting businesses aligned to the University's strengths; security applications, medical devices technology, biotechnology, ICT and life sciences.

The University of Kent's Vice Chancellor, Professor Julia Goodfellow said:

"I am very pleased that work is now underway on the new Innovation Centre. It will provide a range of opportunities for both the University and the region, and we are looking forward to working with SEEDA to make it a success."

The Innovation Centre is being built by the East Kent Spatial Development Company, which was set up in 2002, and has a track record of creating and reinforcing utilities in and around business parks across the South East.

Debbie Spalding, EKSDC, said:

"This is an exciting opportunity for the EKSDC. The company has recently expanded its operating area to include Canterbury and we look forward to developing the Innovation Centre, working in partnership with the University of Kent."

The building itself has high quality design and excellent sustainability credentials. These include the use of a biomass boiler for heating, photovoltaics, rain water harvesting and strategic urban drainage which will limit run off and, therefore, the potential for flooding.

The development is being project managed by Basepoint with RH Partnership as the architects. Morgan Ashurst is the contractor. Basepoint will operate the centre on behalf of East Kent Spatial Development Company.

Accommodation related queries should be directed to Basepoint on 0800 197 3494 or email: hq@basepoint.co.uk.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Deborah Bain, Media Relations Manager, SEEDA Communications,
Phone: 01483 484 200
Email: pressoffice@seeda.co.uk

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155