Education and Training

New innovation centre will create 20 jobs and be home to 50 start-up businesses

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 14 August 2020 7:30

A £1 million award will help create a new work space for businesses, generate 20 jobs and support up to 50 start-up businesses over a five year period. 

This is the grand vision unveiled by Gloucestershire College as it moves into a new phase as a force in the world of cyber and technologies of the future. 

It envisages an innovation centre “where businesses and education can come together to access a wealth of intellectual capital, services and share ideas in a collaborative and trusted community”.

Located within Gloucestershire College’s Cheltenham campus, next door to GCHQ and the new cyber park, the facilities will establish a network of innovators focussed on taking their businesses to the next level. 

Due to open in summer 2021, the college, which also has campuses in Gloucester and the Forest of Dean, has been manoeuvring the pieces into place for some time and used the expertise of Bruton Knowles to attract businesses on board. 

“This project will lead to economic growth for Gloucestershire by providing start-up businesses with the space to grow and share ideas through networking and interlinking with similar enterprises. This, in turn, will attract new business to Gloucestershire and stimulate existing businesses in the creation of jobs,” said Andy Bates, vice principal and chief financial officer at Gloucestershire College. 

“We have identified that there is a shortage of appropriate space for start-up businesses in Gloucestershire and believe that our Cheltenham campus is perfectly located next to GCHQ and near to the planned Cyber Central UK, with links to the M5 motorway and public transport.” 

This project will offer a range of office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and co-working facilities designed specifically for high-tech, cyber-based entrepreneurs and innovators, with access to the educational facilities available at the college.

Cyber start-ups will be encouraged to take part in projects that involve both academic staff and students at the College to create a synergy between students and employers, helping to develop Gloucestershire’s next generation of cyber talent. 

The Cheltenham campus is currently home to the College’s Number One Restaurant, Graduations hair and beauty salon, and Tinies Nursery, all of which are open to the local community.

Bruton Knowles helped to create the commercial business model for surplus office space within its Cheltenham campus, with a focus on securing interest from the technology and cyber businesses sector to complement the College’s educational programme.

Dorian Wragg, Commercial Partner at Bruton Knowles, has worked with the College since 2017 and has already secured a number of high-profile tenants. 

Most recently, Bamboo Technology has moved into a large modern on-site office space, joining business management solutions experts CloudTamers and aviation training service provider Global ATS who are also based at the college’s Cheltenham campus. SME’s who use the brand new business space will be welcomed by a community of innovative businesses already benefiting from the college environment. 

The funding comes as a result of the successful bid from Gloucestershire’s local enterprise partnership, GFirst LEP, to secure £11.3 million of funding from central Government to kick-start the economy and help Gloucestershire recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“In these challenging times this is welcome news for the county’s economy. The LEP team have worked hard with partners to ensure our pipeline of creative and innovative infrastructure projects is always up to date.

“The list of projects that we are now able to fund focus heavily on the cyber, digital and agri-tech sectors, sectors that were identified in our Local Industrial Strategy as the top growth opportunities in the county.” – David Owen, chief executive of GFirst LEP 

The College has also been awarded Institute of Technology status with an additional £3 million of funding allocated to create a brand-new cyber training centre, also at its Cheltenham campus. 

The campus, in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE), will include computing labs, attack and defence rooms, forensic tool kits and engineering labs for students.

First published August 13.