Nicky Morgan MP experiences Loughborough University’s dynamic innovation community
Loughborough MP and Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Nicky Morgan, got a fascinating insight into the dynamic innovation community at Loughborough University today when she met companies from the Innovation Centre and graduate commercialisation Studio.
Her first visit was to CommAgility, based in the Innovation Centre on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park. CommAgility designs, manufactures and sells complex electronic products for next generation wireless telecoms. Earlier this year, the company won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade. From 2010 to 2012, CommAgility’s export sales grew by 51%.
Nicky also visited Bast Inc, which provides data analytical services to the pharmaceutical sector. An excellent example of a high-growth company that is thriving under the trade legislation afforded by Britain’s EU membership, BAST conducts 90% of its business in Germany.
Since its launch in 2002, the Innovation Centre has helped over 100 knowledge-based businesses to prosper. As well as talking to some of these companies about their own plans for growth, Nicky heard more about the exciting expansion plans for the Science and Enterprise Park. Already one of the UK’s largest science parks, planning permission for significant expansion will create up to 200,000m² of floor space for up to 6,000 people, of which about 4,000 could be new jobs.
Nicky’s visit concluded with a tour of The Studio, where she met with many of the graduates who are honing their businesses with the University’s support. As well as providing professional office space, The Studio enables its graduates to access the University’s specialist resources and external network of experts to maximise their commercial prospects.
Among the graduates to meet Nicky was Ross Kemp, whose solar-powered beach rescue craft has been recognised this year with LTSB Start up of the Year and a Santander Universities Award. Whilst Ross is graduating from The Studio and negotiating global suppliers, the new cohort of graduates arrived last week, including promising sculptor, Ian Tricker. One of only ten British art and design graduates to be chosen from 3,000 to exhibit at Free Range this summer, Ian has been commissioned by Charnwood Borough Council to produce sculptures for Queen’s Park.
“It is excellent to see so many companies thriving on the University campus,” said Nicky. She continued: “It’s clear to see how the Innovation Centre and The Studio are helping to nurture growth, and the expansion of the Science and Enterprise Park will help provide a real boost for the local economy.”