Anglia Innovation Partnership (AIP), the science park management entity for Norwich Research Park, launched the park’s enterprise strategy, just under 12 months ago, in May 2022.
You can catch up on what was launched last year with this link. The strategy was launched to encourage anyone, from the research community, with an enterprising idea, to come forward for assessment. A range of pre seed funding and programmes were put together, and are being managed, by the AIP team with the aim of giving new entrepreneurs the confidence to start their enterprise journey.
This enterprise activity has increased the number of early-stage businesses created at the research park, and this, in turn, will increase the societal impact of publicly funded research taking place on the campus.
Since the launch on the campus-wide enterprise strategy, there have been 12 new ‘Explorer’ meetings, involving over 100 participants. The ‘Explorer’ work connects academics and businesses that would otherwise not meet and helps them to explore collaborations and new business opportunities. Work has included initial discussions about the use of additive manufacturing and the NNUH clinical research facility.
Following promotion of the BBSRC ICURe programme, 13 groups from the park secured places and of those, eight groups went on to secure Pre-Seed Enterprise Funding.
AIP was also able to award small pre seed grants, of up to £30,000, to fourteen early-stage companies and innovation projects as part of the Norwich Research Park Pre-Seed Enterprise Fund. The fund was set up to facilitate the early progression of business ideas. The total sum distributed, in grants, so far by AIP is over £270,000.
Additionally, AIP has recently hosted two enterprise focused events on the park, attended by over 250 delegates, Enterprise Wednesday, and an Enterprise Investor Evening. Enterprise Wednesday showcased spin-out and existing companies on the park and the innovative technology they have developed. The Investor Evening was targeted at the local investor community to provide an update on the latest start-up companies coming out of the AIP Pre Seed activity. Seven new companies are being considered for a share of a £1m Seed Fund, set up by Sapphire Capital, specially targeted at start-up activity ‘outside the golden triangle’. Three new companies presented at the investor evening including CellExcel, TraitSeq and MVPea.