Major boost for companies of the future
Dr Mike Anderson (left) who manages the CPI Innovation Accelerator team and Dr Richard Short, WCFM’s Engineering Manager, in the area where The Wilton Centre Innovation Accelerator Incubator will be located.
The Wilton Centre has announced a new development designed to help new businesses within the process industries sector, the first of its kind in the UK.
Construction is about to start on The Wilton Centre Innovation Accelerator Incubator, a 10,000 sq ft facility incorporating specialist laboratories and office space.
The development has been designed to meet BREEAM standards to ensure a high level of energy efficiency and the project is forecast to create 100 jobs and safeguard 75.
Housed within the new facility will be ten specialist laboratory/pilot plant units, with associated equipped communal laboratories and meeting rooms, as well as office space for SMEs working on new business opportunities.
The Incubator will also be the base for the Centre for Process Innovation’s (CPI) Innovation Accelerator team of market sector specialists, who will provide support in market intelligence, intellectual property research, investment planning, networking opportunities, business planning and seeking out sources of funding.
The area will be ready for use before the end of the year, but the Innovation Accelerator team is already at work supporting process industry SMEs.
Members of The Wilton Centre Facilities Management (WCFM) team are providing short-term accommodation until the facility is operational.
Sited in a recently-vacated area of the centre’s Technical Development Area (TDA), the development is funded by The Wilton Centre’s owner with a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund via One North East as part of the Innovation Connectors initiative.
Chris Mitchell, Associate Director at LaSalle Investment Management, Managing Agent for the property, said: “The owner of The Wilton Centre welcomes the opportunity to invest in this unique incubator facility and service that will assist new process industry businesses to successfully develop their ideas and products.
“The development will add to the varied range of facilities already available here and the incubator residents will also benefit from The Wilton Centre’s comprehensive service package. In the future we look forward to the prospect of successful incubator residents utilising the grow-on space available at The Wilton Centre.”
Dr Mike Anderson, who manages the Innovation Accelerator team, said: “Our team has already supported over 25 process industry SMEs and we are really excited about this first custom built incubator for process industry SMEs in the UK.
“New companies developing their products and processes will save a lot of time and money by avoiding set up costs and being able to focus on their technology development in an environment with a huge amount of specialist support.”
The area has now been cleared in readiness for the construction of a mezzanine floor, after which the main contractors will take over the site to complete the complex.
A new entrance will be created on the south side of the building giving direct access from the roads and car parks at the rear of the Wilton Centre.
Building works are being managed by Dr Richard Short, WCFM’s Engineering Manager, who said: “We are delighted to
be going ahead with this development.”
WCFM’s Architectural and Engineering design team, led by TJ Hazell – Engineering Consultants, will be working with Hall
Construction Services Limited and Mansell Construction services Limited to complete the project.
Further details of the Innovation Accelerator are available at: www.innovation-accelerator.co.uk.