Establishing Colchester as a recognised centre for technology

The Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway is a bold new home for early stage and start-up technology companies located on the University of Essex’s Colchester campus. It is a partnership between the University of Essex and Oxford Innovation (the UK’s leading Innovation Centre operator).

Opened in June 2019 by the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the University of Essex, the Innovation Centre is primarily focused on supporting the growth of companies in the technology sector within the East of England. It is a collaborative home for likeminded entrepreneurs, start-ups and aspirational students.

Through offering businesses help to harvest the cutting-edge research and technology resources available at the University of Essex, whilst supporting their growth through the in-house Innovation Director, the Innovation Centre aims to guide new and growing technology businesses in becoming successful, offering:

  • A total of 54 office units
  • Business support
  • Flexible workspace solutions from 200–800 sq ft
  • Networking with over 1,000 businesses
  • Masterclasses in business and technology
  • Easy access to research and talent

Flexible workplace solutions for technology businesses

As a high-growth business itself, the Oxford Innovation team understand what works and how best to support business. They can also offer a network of over 1,000 businesses, locally and nationally, and provide tenants with flexible access to facilities in any of their locations.

Additionally, one of the key roles in the Innovation Centre is the Innovation Director’s ongoing support in the development, strategy, network and university relationships of the businesses located in the building.

My aim here is to create a sense of community between businesses, the University, Colchester and the wider East Anglia ecosystem. I want people to come to the Innovation Centre for inspiration and engagement and contribute to a fun but productive working environment. The mesh of people within the building should create a collaborative work space for some fantastic ideas and projects to change the way we do things for the better. We also want to help solve those 2am moments we all have and give practical solutions to businesses whilst looking at ‘what is next?’ and helping them to scale their businesses in a radical but not reckless way, that is where the value is added.

Neil Griffin
Innovation Director
Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway

From a range of private offices and virtual offices, to co-working and dedicated desks, the Innovation Centre offers flexible workspace solutions with flexible agreements. With as little as one month’s notice, the centre gives companies the freedom to get the right balance for their business, making it hassle free with limited risk. Additionally, The Innovation Centre will offer a community of like-minded individuals, with a full calendar of events, workshops and networking opportunities to get involved in.

The Innovation Centre’s open events range from business support sessions to tech focused creative workshops and masterclasses, all with the goal of supporting the growth of businesses, their needs and to position the centre as the go to place for collaboration and information.

As a local resident to Colchester all my life it’s clear that the support network for developing entrepreneurs and start-ups in our region needed a boost; there are some great initiatives already but additional support with a focused approach to technology and the creation of a home for this was much needed. Oxford Innovation and the University of Essex have collaborated to offer this essential space to not only support budding ideas but to grow the emerging technology sector in the eastern region. The Innovation Centre will help to retain and attract business to Colchester and offer them a new and exciting place to work and collaborate.

Dan Smart
Centre Director
Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway

University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway

The Knowledge Gateway is the University of Essex’s research and technology park on their Colchester Campus and is the location of choice in the East of England for knowledge-based science, technology and digital creative companies. Combined with the excellent facilities on the university campus, this makes it an essential place for entrepreneurs and business owners to base themselves and develop new ideas.

Located on the University of Essex’s Colchester campus, the Innovation Centre is at the heart of their Knowledge Gateway masterplan, offering access to business and academic support and on-campus facilities provided by a leading research-intensive university including…

  • Research facilities including ESSEXLab
  • Nursery, gym, and post office
  • Cafés, restaurants and bars including a four-star hotel
  • 24-hour mini-market, banks with ATMs, post office
  • Lakeside Theatre and Art Exchange gallery
  • Landscaped parkland covering more than 200 acres

Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway amenities

With the University offering “Studio X” in the Innovation Centre, this ensures that there is a place for individuals with ideas to share, discuss and engage with start-ups and entrepreneurs. Studio X’s accelerator program and exciting projects in app and game developments make the Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway stand out from the crowd of typical workspace solutions.

Studio X offers state-of-the-art augmented and virtual reality facilities to students and businesses in the form of a 360-degree virtual reality projection space, enabling the exploration and development of new areas of tech, gaming and the digital creative arts in the area.

Businesses will also have access to an onsite café, all the amenities on the university campus and an understanding based on experience of what early-stage businesses need and appreciate.

If you’d like to enquire about office space or virtual tenancy then click here to send us an email.

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