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9 March 2006 PR 06/23

HRH The Duke of York glimpses into the future of industry at Loughborough Innovation Centre

HRH The Duke of York today (9 March) met some of industry’s leading lights of the future, when he visited the Loughborough University-based Loughborough Innovation Centre, as part of a regional tour to find out more about successful Leicestershire exporters.

The Duke, who is the Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, met with staff from three of the Innovation Centre’s tenant companies – Zest Promotions Limited, ObjectSoft Limited and Intelligent Energy Limited – to learn more about their burgeoning businesses.

He was also introduced to key figures from the University, including Vice Chancellor Professor Shirley Pearce and Professor Ron McCaffer, the Director of Business Partnerships, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer.

Tim Bacon, Manager of Loughborough Innovation Centre, says staff and tenants at the Centre were honoured that His Royal Highness had visited them.

“The Duke had emphasised he wanted to meet a small number of companies and hear about their experiences of setting up innovative and high-technology businesses. He also wanted to know how the Innovation Centre had helped the businesses. I am sure His Royal Highness found the visit interesting as all three companies are at the leading edge in their industries,” said Tim.

The Duke finished his visit to the Centre by unveiling a plaque.

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Notes to editors

  1. Loughborough Innovation Centre is a purpose-designed business incubator for new and growing companies. Opened in 2002, it has recently been expanded and now houses 35 companies from all over the UK as well as overseas. It is also home to several ‘virtual’ tenants – early-stage innovative or high-tech companies that are not yet seeking business accommodation but need a reputable business address. In 2003 the Centre received the UK Business Incubation Ltd (UKBI) ‘Best Newcomer’ award.

  2. Zest Promotions Limited is a tenant at Loughborough Innovation Centre, a company specialising in table-top advertising – poster-style adverts incorporated into table surfaces in cafes, bars and other public places.

  3. Founded in April 1998, Objectsoft Limited specialises in identity assurance. Its web-based product, e-ntitle®, enables businesses to check the identities of those involved in their electronic community, for example their work force and customers, helping to increase online security.

  4. Intelligent Energy Limited is the UK's leading commercial developer of PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell technology, which uses pure hydrogen to deliver clean power for a wide range of applications, such as providing heat and electricity for the home and even powering an aeroplane. The company has recently unveiled ‘ENV’ – a virtually silent Emissions Neutral Vehicle – demonstrating the everyday applicability of fuel cell technology.

  5. UK Trade & Investment is the Government organisation that provides integrated support services for UK companies engaged in overseas trade and foreign businesses focused on the UK as an inward investment location. It brings together the work of teams in British embassies and FCO posts overseas and government departments across Whitehall. In England, international trade support is coordinated by nine International Trade Directors working in partnership with each Regional Development Agency. UK Trade & Investment services are delivered locally through a network of International Trade Teams typically located in Business Link operators or Chambers of Commerce. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own arrangements for local delivery of services.

  6. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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