Seven projects designed to support innovators and entrepreneurs across the East of England are being launched by the ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator (iEA).
The projects – which include creating a new community workshop for inventors, schools enterprise workshops and widening access to a popular entrepreneur event – have received grants as part of iEA annual funding programme.
The ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator is a four year, East of England Development Agency enabled programme, which aims to enable economic, strategic and social value to be generated across the Eastern Region by:-
• Identifying high-potential research- and innovation-led opportunities for early-stage business growth
• Supporting the accelerated development growth of new ventures, leading to financial and jobs growth
• Increasing the knowledge and skills of people engaging in key roles across the enterprise lifecycle
For each year of the programme, iEA will provide grants to help establish projects that will deliver progress towards these aims. The seven projects being announced are:
MakeSpace – is based on the FabLab concept developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It provides a community prototyping workshop with modern equipment such as 3D printers, 2D laser cutters, and electronics tools, suitable for developing everything from high-tech prototypes to furniture. It will also be used to host training events for schools and businesses and as meeting place for enthusiasts, innovators and engineers across the Region.
Enterprise Tuesday – Established in 1999 and organised by the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Enterprise Tuesday lectures introduce participants the world of business and inspires individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions. This project will launch the Enterprise Tuesday lecture series in two other universities in the Region.
Young Enterprise – This project aims to establish day-long enterprise workshops in 18 schools across the East of England to develop understanding of, and interest in, entrepreneurship among senior school students.
Open Innovation Workshops – Based on research into Open Innovation conducted by the University of Cambridge’s IfM Centre for Technology Management, this project consists of a series of Open Innovation workshops, delivered across the Region, to provide local firms with access to the latest thinking on innovation practice and detailing how they can develop beneficial alliances with other companies.
National Association for University Enterprise – This project will establish a pilot programme to develop university enterprise and support the appointment of an East of England Director to work with higher education institutions across the Region.
Cambridge University Entrepreneurs – This project aims to establish a peer support network to other student enterprise groups in the Region.
Springboard – ideaSpace is working with Springboard, a start-up acceleration programme. The scheme combines advice, support, networking opportunities and access to initial investment capital.
Stew McTavish, ideaSpace Director, said the recipients of the grants would be helping deliver high quality enterprise training across the region: “The Government is looking to entrepreneurs and private enterprise to help get the country back on its feet again. What we want to do is help people turn their ideas into viable businesses.
“These grants will help deliver the training and opportunities that people need to help start new and thriving ventures and create new jobs.”
To find out more about the work of ideaSpace, visit www.ideaspace.cam.ac.uk
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Stew McTavish