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Norwich Research Park launches strategy for new business investment

01 June 2022

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The Enterprise Strategy from Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP will kickstart investment into new businesses at Norwich Research Park.

Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP, the organisation that manages Norwich Research Park, has launched its Enterprise Strategy to kickstart investment into new businesses at the Park.

Its aim is two-fold: to encourage those with a potential idea for a business – be they entrepreneurs or people studying or working at the Park – to come forward for support. It will also highlight to investors – whether venture capital companies or high net worth individuals – the potential return on investment the Park offers spin-outs, spin-ins and start-ups.

The Enterprise Strategy was launched last month with two events run specifically for new businesses and investors. Both events, led by new CEO of Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP Roz Bird, attracted large audiences and a lot of interest.

A pre-seed enterprise fund, set up as a partnership between Norwich Research Park and the John Innes Foundation, is one of the key strands of the strategy to encourage business start-ups. Successful applicants can receive up to £25,000 from the fund to develop business ideas.

This funding is available to budding entrepreneurs studying at the University of East Anglia (UEA) or working at one of the four world-leading research institutes: Earlham Institute, Quadram Institute, John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory, as well as the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Once a company has been set up, it can then apply for the next stage of investment – a seed fund run by QUBIS, the commercial arm of the Queen’s University of Belfast, in partnership with Sapphire Capital. Through continuing support from QUBIS, the aim is for the businesses to eventually attract investment from local angel investors and high net worth individuals.

Roz said: “Investors will be interested in funding start-ups through the Enterprise Strategy because of all the untapped potential that exists with the wealth of world-leading researchers working here at the Park.

“QUBIS can work through all the ideas, identify the ones that have real potential and then provide support to those who are genuinely interested in getting things to the stage where they have a compelling proposition to present to investors.
“That means by the time private investors get involved, they’ll see that by going through a robust process the companies will be in good shape to be evaluated and hopefully attract funding.”

Anne Dornan, innovation partnerships manager at QUBIS, said: “A lot of these companies stay and grow within the place where they were created because there’s that stickiness, there’s that reliance on the wider environment and infrastructure, with the superb world-class facilities that are here.”

Norwich Research Park is home to a number of high-growth businesses that have raised significant investment, increased their workforces and are rapidly building customer bases.

In 2020, Tropic Biosciences, which is working on developing new disease-resistant variants of banana and coffee plants using gene editing techniques, raised $28.5m (£22.7m) and has grown its workforce to 120. Colorifix, a company that is pioneering a new sustainable dyeing process for the fashion industry, raised $22.6m (£18m) in 2022 and is already working with retail giant H&M. And there are many more companies such as Leaf Expression Systems, Iceni Glyoscience, Coral Eyewear and iBoxit that are emerging as high-growth businesses.

Companies that have successfully established themselves at Norwich Research Park can gear up for the next phase of expansion. A number of new buildings are planned, which will offer incubation and accelerator facilities for new businesses. There are also 52 hectares of land ready for development, which should appeal to investors or company owners looking to relocate.

Norwich Research Park’s relationship with the landowners, South Norfolk Council and New Anglia LEP, is another added benefit when it comes to things like planning and developing the infrastructure needed to support business growth and relocation.

Roz added: “I took the post of CEO at Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP because Norwich Research Park has so many of the ingredients needed for future success. Each of the organisations onsite has an amazing track record and reputation and can help to solve some of society’s biggest challenges.

“The team will work with these great institutions and our partners to help maximise the potential of their research and development activity by creating a great place to start and grow a business. Our Enterprise Strategy is a key element of that success – ensuring there is a process embedded in Norwich Research Park’s ecosystem to identify, nurture and support start-up businesses.”

For more information about setting up a business at Norwich Research Park, please contact enquiries@norwichresearchpark.com

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