focus on southampton Investing in innovation Southampton Science Park continues to be a beacon of success in the south
Home to around 100 successful science and technology businesses, from start-ups to industry- leading multinationals, the University of Southampton Science Park is a place where innovative ideas become successful commercial enterprises which positively impact societies around the world.
Despite a challenging year for most businesses, the Science Park has remained resolute in its drive to enable innovative companies to keep working, adapting, and growing, as demonstrated by a series of new investments and projects.
Work has begun on the creation of a new building at the Science Park. The Future Towns Innovation Hub will be a collaborative environment for breakthrough engineering research and technologies. The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, Research England and the University of Southampton are funding the £10 million initiative, due to open in 2021.
The new facility will enable leading academics and businesses to work toward making the region’s towns cleaner, healthier, happier places to live and work. It will do so by developing engineering solutions to solve the challenges of energy-efficient housing, water conservation, sustainable transport, carbon neutral waste management and recycling, and improving health outcomes.
Often, it takes a crisis to generate original thinking. In the midst of a global pandemic, it certainly seems that there’s no shortage of innovative business concepts on the horizon if the Science Park’s Catalyst business accelerator programme is an indicator.
Aspiring entrepreneurs enthusiastically pitched their ideas for a place on the prestigious scheme designed for early stage science and technology businesses in July.
Science Park CEO, Robin Chave, commented: “I was delighted with both the quantity and quality of applications for 2020 Catalyst. To me, this signifies that, despite an uncertain financial climate, there’s no shortage of innovative business ideas and driven entrepreneurs here on the South Coast. I believe it is also testimony to the obvious reputation that the Catalyst Centre has as a business accelerator.”
Nearly 60 startup companies have benefited from the Catalyst programme over the past eight years. Together, they have raised over £15m in grants and investments, with many primed for substantial growth.
At the other end of the scale, the Science Park is supporting companies that are already enjoying success through its sponsorship of the High Growth Tech Business category at the South Coast Tech Awards.
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE – SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020
While some prestigious events planned to take place at Axis, the Science Park’s conference centre, were inevitably postponed in line with government guidance earlier this year, this hasn’t prevented its education and business support activities.
A series of Lunch & Learn webinars have covered a wide range of topics, from Self Care in Lockdown to Forecasting for Resilience. These short, focused, highly practical and well-attended sessions were designed to ensure that the south’s businesses don’t just survive, but thrive. Look out for more this Autumn.
As employees returned to their offices, they had an opportunity to ensure that it wasn’t ‘business as normal’ for their commute. Working to help people rethink solo car journeys, the Science Park has continued to invest in alternative transport options. Recent examples include electric vehicle charge points, a car club scheme for ad-hoc journeys and a new local bus service which links to air and train connections at Southampton Parkway.
Robin Chave said: “The attractive surroundings of our out-of-town location are valued highly by the businesses that come here, so we wish to ensure that we do everything we can to protect our local area and play our part in reducing pollution and congestion across the south’s busy roads.”
Southampton Science Park has office and laboratory space available, as well as opportunities for custom developments.
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