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ĎA global beacon for innovationí - The Canterbury Innovation Centre officially opens

11 November 2010

The Canterbury Innovation Centre held an official opening event today to mark the success of its first year of operation. 

The centre is operated by Basepoint and was funded by £7.3m from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA). It opened its doors to businesses in November 2009, with the aim of connecting high tech businesses with academic expertise from within the University of Kent, as well as encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in the area. There are now 40 businesses based in the centre, creating jobs for local people and exemplifying how the centre has fulfilled the expectations which were set out last year – a tangible illustration that Canterbury is fast becoming a hub for technological advancement.

Pam Alexander, chief executive of SEEDA, speaking ahead of the opening, said: “We are delighted the Canterbury Innovation Centre has attracted so many innovative businesses in its first year. Our investment has created an important hub for exchanging ideas and expertise with the local universities and developing new innovative ideas with businesses in the area. The centre fits right into the Government’s vision for innovation at a local level, and it will continue to drive the local economy beyond the emergence of the new economic development structures.”

 

Jo Clark, the Canterbury Innovation Centre’s manager, said: “We already have a strong business community within the centre. We have had many enquiries from local businesses and also receive a lot of interest from international companies which demonstrates that the centre is already recognised as a global beacon for innovation.”

 

The centre was developed in partnership with the East Kent Spatial Development Company (EKSDC) and the building has achieved an ‘Excellent’ BREEM rating for its environmentally conscious design which boasts solar panels, a biomass boiler and rainwater harvesting systems.

 

At the opening event, speeches were given by Brian Andrews – Basepoint’s executive director, John Gilbey – leader of Canterbury City Council and chair of EKSDC, and Chris Moore – director of built environment at SEEDA. A talk was also given by inspirational entrepreneur and ambassador for Kent, Graham Webb, MBE.

 

Brian Andrews opened the speeches by hailing the centre’s success to date, he said: “With a number of innovative businesses already located at the centre, the stakeholder’s vision is well on its way to being realised – this is an incredibly positive reflection on the business community in Canterbury and beyond, especially given the difficult economic climate.”

 

Councillor John Gilbey’s speech followed, he said: “Canterbury City Council is also thrilled with the great success of the Innovation Centre over its first year of occupation. I believe the centre is especially important due to the current financial crisis and the threat to so many jobs. We are looking forward to the further development of the University of Kent Technology Park, which we are currently working towards.”

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