Entrepreneurs gain new enterprise hub at Leeds Uni

0
Have your say

LEEDS UNIVERSITY has revived plans to develop an enterprise hub on campus.

The £25m building will provide a base for early stage start-ups and allow them to access business support and expertise from academics.

At 70,000 sq ft, it will be large enough to accommodate 15-20 companies.

Professor Nigel Lockett, who is leading the project, told the YEP: “We want Leeds to be seen as the most enterprising university in the UK and this building will be part of that.”

He said universities have a civic responsibility to support economic growth in their local areas.

Leeds University was developing plans for a state-of-the-art science park in the heart of the city called Innovation City Leeds, but the project was shelved due to the downturn in 2010.

Yesterday’s announcement comes after the leading industrialist Sir Andrew Witty called for a new era of collaboration between academia and business to help Britain keep up in the global economic race.

In his review for the Government, the chief executive of 
GlaxoSmithKline said the UK has an extraordinary wealth of ideas, technology and human energy, but is losing out to foreign rivals who are better at exploiting research.

The Witty review urged closer working with small and medium sized enterprises, said that funds from local enterprise partnerships be directed towards universities to support enterprise and recommended universities forge closer links with UK Trade and Investment.

Prof Lockett said university support for enterprise will remain constant whatever the complexion of the next government, unlike regional development agencies and local enterprise partnerships which are vulnerable to political upheaval.

The former entrepreneur outlined the ways that enterprise takes place at the university. He said the university makes its students fit for work while supporting increasing numbers of graduates who are setting up their own companies as a legitimate alternative to a hotly contested jobs market.

Leeds University has already obtained planning permission for the enterprise hub.