University of Leicester to provide world-class space science business incubation support
The UK Space Agency has announced another £200,000 of funding for 4 new business incubators – including one at the University of Leicester – to boost the number of companies starting-up and growing in the space sector across the UK.
The incubators, in Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire and London, will provide science innovation and business incubation support for entrepreneurs and small businesses to help grow the UK space industry.
The University of Leicester will receive £50,000 to establish a dedicated Business Incubation support offer within the University’s Leicester Innovation Hub aimed at students and graduates to help them at the pre-start-up phase to develop their entrepreneurial ideas, market test and start-up viable businesses.
The funding follows the launch of the government’s Industrial Strategy, which includes a £50 million programme to enable new satellite launch services and low gravity spaceflights from UK spaceports, to boost the economy and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
UK Space Agency Chief Executive, Dr Graham Turnock, who made the announcement at the STFC RAL Space Appleton Space Conference at Harwell in Oxfordshire, said:
“The funding for these new business incubators will see the excellent network of support we have in the UK expand and provide further opportunities for exciting start-ups in the space sector, with 15 incubators working across 22 locations.
“The Industrial Strategy underlined the government’s commitment to make Britain the best place to start and grow a business, with prosperous communities across the UK. Supporting new businesses across the UK is central to reaching our ambition of capturing 10% of the global space market by 2030 and I am sure these new incubators will have a fantastic impact.”
Professor Iain Gillespie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester, said: “The Leicester Innovation Hub at the University of Leicester and East Midlands Centre of Excellence for Satellite Applications (EMCoE) have joined forces to provide additional pre-start-up business incubation support to budding space entrepreneurs coming out of our universities.
“The ‘pre-incubator’(Graduate Hatchery) at the Leicester Innovation Hub is targeting students and graduate entrepreneurs from all disciplines to catalyse new start-ups in the space sector and deliver innovation and new services by raising awareness of the business growth opportunities in the sector.
“The ‘Graduate Hatchery’ in the Leicester Innovation Hub provide a safe business environment for budding entrepreneurs and their entrepreneurial ideas and teams. A business environment where they will be nurtured and where their ideas can be pre-tested for market viability before progressing into fully-fledged businesses ready to transition into an incubator. In addition, the pre-incubator develops their knowledge of financial risk, gaps in business and personal skills, market potential of the new product or service, sources of investment and capital networks, the value and worth of their intellectual property.
“The team at the University of Leicester are aligning the pre start-up activities in the Leicester Innovation Hub, to enable the East Midlands universities and their entrepreneur support programmes to work together by leveraging established co-operations and networks between universities and relevant companies.
“The Innovation Hub will use its substantial experience to deliver a pipeline of new graduate start-ups for the existing three incubators in the East Midlands by bridging a known ‘gap’ in provision between higher education institutes and existing business incubators.”
The Leicester Innovation Hub pre-start-up business incubation will facilitate joint work in support of space and space enabled businesses, provides new opportunities for the University to help more entrepreneurs, enables better connections with businesses based at UKSA Incubators and grow the space sector and ecosystem.
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