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Gloucestershire College awarded almost £1 million to create an innovation centre for cyber start-ups

Gloucestershire College has been awarded almost £1 million to invest in a brand new flexible workspace for local businesses with purpose-built facilities designed to develop the technologies of the future.

The new innovation centre will develop a county-wide test bed where businesses and education can come together to access a wealth of intellectual capital, services and share ideas in a collaborative and trusted community. Located within Gloucestershire College’s Cheltenham campus, next door to GCHQ and the new cyber park, the facilities will establish a network of innovators focussed on taking their businesses to the next level.

Due to open in summer 2021, the College expects the new space to generate 20 new jobs per year and to support up to 50 start-up businesses over a five year period.

This project will offer a range of office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and co-working facilities designed specifically for high-tech, cyber-based entrepreneurs and innovators, with access to the educational facilities available at the College.

Cyber start-ups will be encouraged to take part in projects that involve both academic staff and students at the College to create a synergy between students and employers, helping to develop Gloucestershire’s next generation of cyber talent.

The vibrant Cheltenham campus is currently home to the College’s Number One Restaurant, Graduations hair and beauty salon, and Tinies Nursery, all of which are open to the local community. With on-site parking, subsidised catering facilities and great links to the M5 motorway and public transport, the campus makes an ideal location for businesses to base themselves.

Gloucestershire College worked with Bruton Knowles to create a commercial business model for surplus office space within its Cheltenham campus, with a focus on securing interest from the technology and cyber businesses sector to complement the College’s educational programme. Dorian Wragg, Commercial Partner at Bruton Knowles, has worked with the College since 2017 and has already secured a number of high profile tenants.

Most recently, Bamboo Technology has moved into a large modern on-site office space, joining business management solutions experts CloudTamers and aviation training service provider Global ATS who are also based at the College’s Cheltenham campus. SME’s who use the brand new business space will be welcomed by a community of innovative businesses already benefiting from the college environment.

“We have identified that there is a shortage of appropriate space for start-up businesses in Gloucestershire and believe that our Cheltenham campus is perfectly located next to GCHQ and near to the planned Cyber Central UK, with links to the M5 motorway and public transport.

“This project will lead to economic growth for Gloucestershire by providing start-up businesses with the space to grow and share ideas through networking and interlinking with similar enterprises. This, in turn, will attract new business to Gloucestershire and stimulate existing businesses in the creation of jobs.” – Andy Bates, Vice Principal and Chief Financial Officer at Gloucestershire College.

The funding comes as a result of the successful bid from Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst LEP, to secure £11.3 million of funding from central Government to kick-start the economy and help Gloucestershire recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“In these challenging times this is welcome news for the county’s economy. The LEP team have worked hard with partners to ensure our pipeline of creative and innovative infrastructure projects is always up to date. The list of projects that we are now able to fund focus heavily on the cyber, digital and agri-tech sectors, sectors that were identified in our Local Industrial Strategy as the top growth opportunities in the county.” – David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP

This investment is not the only innovation coming from Gloucestershire College. Their commitment to developing the future of the engineering and cyber industry has led to the College being awarded Institute of Technology status with an additional £3 million of funding allocated to create a brand new cyber training centre. The state-of-the-art facilities, also located at their Cheltenham campus, will include computing labs, attack and defence rooms, forensic tool kits and engineering labs for students. In partnership with UWE Bristol, the brand new Institute of Technology centre is due to open in spring 2021.

Gloucestershire College is committed to delivering ‘learning that works’ for its students and local businesses. By investing in new facilities for both learners and businesses, the College aims to transform it’s Cheltenham campus into a hub of technical innovation and aspiring talent.

To find out more about the innovation centre for cyber start-ups or if you are interested in renting space for your business, please contact Gloucestershire College’s Chief Financial Officer, Andy Bates, via: andy.bates@gloscol.ac.uk

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