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Norwich Research Park offers virtual tenancies to start-ups

06 November 2023

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If you want to expand or start a business, consider a virtual tenancy at Norwich Research Park.

Start-ups are often launched at home or operate on borrowed premises, but there are now a growing number of attractive options that can help make those first few months more manageable. One of those solutions is to take up virtual tenancy.

A virtual tenancy enables you to rent a physical address without paying for office or laboratory space on a permanent basis. Usually, you sign up for a 12-month contract and pay a monthly fee. You can pay for additional services or facilities such as office space, laboratory space or meeting rooms on a pro rata basis.

Virtual tenancies may also come with other benefits that accelerate the growth of a business through access to funding, mentors, networks and events.

Norwich Research Park offers virtual tenancy packages at its Centrum building which have proved advantageous to many start-ups. Ediform, PfBIOMVPea, Virilitas and PulseON are just a few of the new companies to have emerged at Norwich Research Park in the past 18 months.

Ediform aims to create 3D printed food that can be loaded with specific nutrients, proteins, vitamins and flavour to deliver healthy food to hospitals, care homes, deprived areas and areas suffering from floods or drought.

Ediform managing director John Farley said: “Having an address at Centrum on Norwich Research Park adds immediate credibility to any business and instils confidence in your customers, suppliers and partners. Centrum itself has wonderful facilities such as the meeting rooms and the Atrium Café where you can easily meet and collaborate with other people on the campus.

John added: “Having the university hospital and university on the same campus is really beneficial, as we need their expertise to help us to develop our products and networks.

“And having a fully functional reception desk for us to use means we know out visitors are looked after the moment they set foot at the Park.”

What are the benefits of a virtual tenancy at Norwich Research Park?

A profile-raising address

Norwich Research Park is a globally known and prestigious location that will open doors and get you noticed. Businesses will also be included on Norwich Research Park’s company directory and have signage placed in Centrum’s foyer alongside the other virtual and physical tenants.

Part of the business and science community

Norwich Research Park is a thriving centre for entrepreneurs and people with new ideas that can inspire business owners and provide new business opportunities for them. The people working across the campus regularly come together for community events that are held at a variety of buildings providing plenty of formal and informal peer group networking.

Virtual tenants are invited to all community events organised by Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP, the management team. Events include the summer BBQ, quiz nights, lunch-time Tai Chi, senior team lunches and Enterprise Wednesday showcase events, plus industry sector events organised by the likes of AgritechE, Norfolk Limited and the Royal Society.

High-quality professional facilities

Centrum offers virtual tenants modern, office and lab facilities as well as a café and restaurant which are ideal for meetings. There is a large terrace with views across the campus, perfect for outside meetings or work in the warmer months. Meeting rooms can also be booked at preferential rates.

Access to funding

Norwich Research Park offers virtual tenants many opportunities to access pre-seed funding through Anglia Innovation Partnership’s Enterprise programme. It includes an Explorer Fund to help crystalise early-stage opportunities and business ideas and a Pre-Seed Enterprise Fund to help assess and market test those ideas with the aim of making them ‘investment ready’.

Having this funding in place highlights to investors the potential that the Park offers spin-outs, spin-ins and start-ups for a healthy return on investment.

Business owners and their visitors can benefit from free parking close to the Centrum building. Norwich Research Park enjoys a great position five miles from Norwich city centre and rail station and is just a mile from the A11/A47 dual carriageway junction linking Norwich to London, Cambridge, the Midlands and the North, as well as the ports on the East coast of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Norwich International Airport is only a 20-minute drive away where there are regular scheduled flights to Schiphol Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Jersey. And for those who choose to cycle or run to work, there are showers in Centrum.

Serviced reception

Centrum has a serviced reception throughout the working day which can act as your own reception service, taking calls and booking meetings. Mail and package receipt and mail forwarding services can also be provided at an additional charge.

Access to specialist technology platforms

Norwich Research Park has several technology platforms that virtual tenants can access, including those for Biofoundry, Single Cell Genomics, Genotyping and DNA Extractions, Crop Transformation and the QIB Extra contract research and analytics services.

Hospitality booking service

If a virtual tenant wanted to run an event at Centrum, they are able to book hospitality services such as catering and entertainment with the Anglia Innovation Partnership team.

Opportunities to engage with the science community

There are a variety of internship schemes at both undergraduate and post-graduate level and plenty of opportunities to engage with student projects at undergraduate, master’s and PhD-level.

Roz Bird, CEO of Anglia Innovation Partnership, said: “We recognise that there is a huge potential for brilliant business ideas to emerge from the research community at Norwich Research Park, which is why we established our Enterprise programme that will support and encourage people with great ideas to test them as businesses.

“The combination of expert advisers on campus with top-class facilities, access to funding and importantly the ease of collaboration means we can nurture and fast-track ideas so that they become viable start-up or spin-out companies.

“A virtual tenancy gives fledgling companies a chance to raise their profile and meet with people who can really help them develop their high-growth business. A virtual tenancy is also good for well-established companies that want to expand into new markets and new geographic areas. By joining the community as a virtual tenant and attending events, these larger companies are able to find out the latest and meet key people.

“Anyone starting or expanding their business should seriously think about making a virtual tenancy one of the first things they consider.”

Main Image: Norwich Research Park’s 3rd Quiz Night that happened in October 2023 had a great turnout!

Left: The Centrum building offers a great profile raising address and modern facilities for meeting and events.

Right: Ediform aims to create 3D printed food (Image: Ediform)

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