Technology Incubator approaches fifty per cent full
One of the Innovation Accelerator’s ten laboratories.
The Innovation Accelerator has been officially opened at The Wilton Centre to support businesses in the science, technology, engineering and life sciences sectors.
Officially the UK’s first specialist facility designed to support new and emerging businesses in the process industry, it was officially unveiled during an event at The Wilton Centre.
Guests from various fields of industry were shown round the new complex, which forms part of the Centre.
Managed by market sector specialists from The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), the 10,000 sq ft fully integrated facility incorporates ten laboratories and pilot plant units alongside a range of flexible work, office and meeting space.
Dr Mike Anderson, who manages the Innovation Accelerator, said: “There is nothing else like our Innovation Accelerator in the UK.”
Its creation stems from the Innovation Connector programme supported by One North East and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A key aspect in its development is that it was created by a partnership between the CPI, RDA, ERDF and The Wilton Centre landlord.
Dr Anderson said: “There are 4.8 million enterprises in the UK, of which 99 per cent are SMEs, contributing 49 per cent of turnover. Even during the recession, SMEs increased turnover by 5.8 per cent.
“Within an incubator their failure rate is reduced. Eighty to ninety per cent of businesses in an incubator are still open after five years. The figure drops to 60 per cent outside. With the support systems offered by an incubator, they have a better chance of survival.”
Three businesses are already in the Incubator, with two close to signing, meaning that it will soon be fifty per cent full.
Dr Anderson said: “We are looking for more successes to come out of our incubator. In years to come, we will see companies take off from nothing to employing more than 50 people.
“Our philosophy is based around enabling ‘plug and play’ and avoiding excessive start-up costs coupled with the provision of sector specialist business support services which will enhance the ability of SMEs to gain investment and customers. The concept is to allow the development of businesses from prototype to customers.”
Another of the speakers at the launch, Ross Morgan, of Centre resident Compact GTL, said: “The Wilton Centre has been a critical element of our success. If we had had this incubator six years ago it would have been ideal. There are opportunities here for the people coming in to grow and move on because there is space available at The Wilton Centre.”
Chris Mitchell, Associate Director at LaSalle Investment Management, Managing Agent for The Wilton Centre, said that the new development was a perfect addition to the range of facilities on offer at the centre.
“The Wilton Centre has long been associated with excellence in research and development and the Innovation Accelerator will help us to further develop our reputation as a centre for innovation and success. This project shows how successful private and public sector partnerships can be and we are very proud to be involved with it.”
Further details of the Innovation Accelerator are available at: