Roz Bird, CEO of Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP, the organisation that runs Norwich Research Park, discusses the business opportunities science offers.
With so much of the news focused on the here and now in terms of the energy crisis, the rate of inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine, there is a temptation that we put the future to one side. But we can’t do that if we are to continue to nurture breakthrough science that can be translated into viable business propositions.
From my own experience managing science parks, I have learned that there are essentially three key ingredients that are needed to create a platform to enable science-based research ideas to be turned into successful commercial enterprises.
The first is great people. To grow businesses, you need to build strong teams; not only technically, but also within core disciplines such as business management, finance and at board level.
The second is access to state-of-the-art facilities accompanied by strong links to leading academics, university facilities and NHS clinical trials.
Thirdly, it’s the right funding. Pre-seed funding is required initially to enable start-ups to de-risk potential investment opportunities before they approach venture investors for seed finance needed to establish a company, hire the first staff and secure facilities to commence operations.
For Norwich Research Park to be successful, this type of funding access has to be embedded in the ecosystem, which is what we are currently doing.
I believe we have a massive opportunity to untap a huge potential of ideas and resources. The Enterprise Strategy we launched in May is already reaping rewards with several start-up companies having received pre-seed funding to prepare themselves for investment.
We definitely have the resources that rival those of the traditional science centres of the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London. And we have a track record of helping to turn pre-seed funding start-ups into high-growth businesses with plenty of land for development.
We need more investors to recognise the opportunities we have and attract more business mentors to help our fledgling businesses develop rapidly.
Norwich Research Park has the potential to be one of the largest contributors to the East of England’s economy and we would love to hear from those who want to get involved in our journey.
If you’d like to know more about the opportunities at Norwich Research Park please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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