Plans for a new hub which aims to support the growth of businesses in Bucks have received a boost after a business group pledged £1.3 million towards it.
Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) provided £1.3m in capital funds to University Campus Aylesbury Vale (UCAV) to create a Digital Innovation Hub to support business innovation and growth in Bucks.
The hub is aimed at making UCAV in Walton Street, Aylesbury, a centre for start-up businesses in the digital sector, with facilities including a cyber-security suite and virtual reality engineering design studio.
The campus, a partnership between Bucks New University and Aylesbury College, is designed to allow small and early-stage high-growth businesses to access advice, support and incubation spaces and enjoy use of the wider facilities and opportunities offered at both institutions sites.
Andrew M. Smith, chair of Bucks Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership said: “We are delighted to be funding this key project to create an exciting hub where business and education can interact and which meet BTVLEP and regional skills priorities in design and technology.
“University Campus Aylesbury Vale’s Digital Innovation Hub will be the area’s leading destination and ideal environment for businesses and entrepreneurs in design and digital technology sectors seeking support for start-up, innovation and growth.
“The new facility will be a hub for business-to-business interaction and access to apprenticeship and higher skills development, all of which will help to retain expertise in Bucks and attract talent from other areas.”
Ian Harper, chief executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale said: “We are grateful to Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership for their support of the project and delighted that they are excited by our plans to support new businesses, apprentices and undergraduates in our Aylesbury campus.
“We look forward to working with the BTVLEP to address the current and future skills needs of the region.”
The development will incorporate a business service to meet graduate level skills gaps and a technical design facility to support the development of technical businesses and inspire the region’s young people to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects.
Professor Tim Middleton, pro-vice chancellor at Bucks New University said: “Bucks New University is excited to be working with the support of the BTVLEP to build on its work with business in further developing our University Campus Aylesbury Vale site as a place to work with start-up businesses and provide enhanced support for continuing professional development in cyber security and digital design.”
A mobile facility will use simulation to showcase work and courses offered at UCAV, particularly where the college and university seek to widen participation in further and higher education among traditionally under-represented groups.
UCAV provides degree-level courses and currently has more than 300 students studying for foundation degrees in subjects including Computing and Business Management.