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New thinking and business acumen paves way for innovation

Multi-million pound benefits for business from new Innovation Hub at University of Leicester

New thinking will meet business acumen to drive innovation at Leicester's £5 million-plus Innovation Hub at the University of Leicester.

A state-of-the-art autonomous driving vehicle (Audi Q2 scale 1:8) will be on display at the Leicester Innovation Hub which launches on Tuesday 18 September. University of Leicester Informatics students are among only ten teams selected from across Europe to compete in the Audi Autonomous Driving Cup 2018 - where the next generation of innovators will demonstrate how they could help to shape the future of autonomous vehicle technology.

This is the latest competition where University of Leicester students demonstrate their expertise on autonomous vehicles. In July, a team of Engineering and Informatics students joined the first UK Formula Student Artificial Intelligence competition on the famous Formula One race track in Silverstone. 

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and County Council leader Cllr Nick Rushton will join business leaders, innovation supporters and researchers at the new facility where K D Adamson – Innovation and Technology Futurologist – is the keynote speaker.  President & Vice-Chancellor of the University Professor Paul Boyle will also address guests to inaugurate the facility at its new site in Regent Road, Leicester near De Montfort Hall.

Director of the Leicester Innovation Hub Dr Stephan Reiff-Marganiec said: “The Leicester Innovation Hub is designed to make it easier for businesses and entrepreneurs to access the University of Leicester’s research, technologies and facilities to jointly realise business aspirations through innovation, research and development.  The Leicester Innovation Hub, unlike most innovation centres, houses a host of innovation support projects and organisations such as Innovate UK whose sole aim is to help individuals and businesses achieve their full potential by becoming more entrepreneurial, starting new business ventures, developing and launching new products and services, and introducing innovations.

"The Leicester Innovation Hub is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund -  ERDF grant £2.5m and University investment £2.5m. Thanks to the funding, we are able to employ a dedicated team to engage with companies to develop innovative solutions and to create a bridge into the University of Leicester and with our academic expertise.  This will allow us to regularly work in partnership, to develop relevant solutions and to transform businesses through R&D and business innovation. The team also works closely with pre start-up and early stage graduate business to help accelerate viable business ideas."

The University of Leicester’s Innovation Hub team will help deliver the following outputs over three years as part of the ERDF project: 

  • 180 SMEs Innovation supported from Leicester and Leicestershire, of which:
    • 75 companies will additionally collaborate with the University 
    • 70 SMEs will become Innovation Active 
    • 16 will launch new products or services 
    • 30 will introduce new processes or technologies 
  • 25 new early stage/start-up enterprises supported
  • 20 new graduates businesses incubated
  • 15 new jobs created in SMEs

Head of Regional Business Engagement Anjuu Trevedi said: “The Leicester Innovation Hub provides a dynamic innovation framework where new ideas and businesses are germinated, incubated and grown in partnership. The Hub complements existing provision in the city and county by acting as a ‘feeder’ of new ideas, graduates and tenants to facilities such as the Dock, LCB Depot, Harborough Innovation Centre, Space Park Leicester.  Our activities and support is targeted to generate a multiplier effect - i.e. the ideas germinate here, take root in the region/in the businesses which then grow into global businesses.  The Innovation Hub provides a creative and safe space for entrepreneurs, innovators and growth oriented companies to develop their new ideas/start-up as well as dedicated innovation support to enable SMEs and entrepreneurs to capitalise on their innovative ideas.  As a result future tenants will emerge from here to enter existing innovation and business centres in the city, county and wider region.”

Rajinder Bhuhi, Leicester Innovation Hub Business Manager, added: “We are delighted that Innovate UK, as part of the UKRI family, has chosen to locate their East and South Midlands office within the Hub facilities. This further adds to the innovation ecosystem and enables improved interaction and collaboration with businesses making it easier to access funding opportunities and innovation support.

"Currently through the Leicester Innovation Hub ERDF funded project, qualifying businesses based in Leicester and Leicestershire could be eligible for free or heavily subsidised innovation support, thanks to part-funding from ERDF i.e. those employing fewer than 250 staff, with turnover less than 50 million euros and/or have a balance sheet of less than 43 million euros and have received less than 200,000 euros in public grants in the last three years. Plus qualifying students and graduates can also access ‘hot desk’ space and business start-up support (funding, coaching and mentoring) i.e. those that have recently qualified, have identified and wish to explore the feasibility of starting a new business and have a viable business plan."

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