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Allia announces it will be opening a new Future Business Centre in Peterborough to encourage businesses with an environmental or social mission

Posted: 03/06/2015

A not-for profit organisation, Allia has today announced that it will become the new operator of the Future Business Centre Peterborough at the Abax Stadium. The centre will encourage and support businesses with an environmental or social mission to start up and grow. It will also promote entrepreneurship to young people as a way of creating opportunities for them to take part in Peterborough’s growth.

Allia has been successfully supporting social ventures for many years and opened a new Future Business Centre in Cambridge 18 months ago. It is now at full occupancy with businesses creating positive impact for people or planet across a range of sectors including social tech, clean technology and the environment. Nearly all of them have achieved strong growth at the Future Business Centre, creating new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.

Lark Energy will be moving in to the Future Business Centre Peterborough. Economic development company Opportunity Peterborough has confirmed that they will be moving in later in June and will also work alongside Allia to help achieve a shared vision and encourage businesses that will make a social, environmental, economic and educational impact in Peterborough.

Tim Jones, Chief Executive of Allia said “Peterborough has been enormously successful in creating jobs and has set itself the ambition of creating the UK’s environment capital.  We believe an Allia Future Business Centre will bring an exciting new dimension to Peterborough’s drive for a sustainable economy and will help its ambition to create even more jobs – especially those in the knowledge economy – whilst developing a skilled workforce equipped for today’s emerging sectors.  He continued “We want Future Business Centre Peterborough to be much more than a building, we want it to be a beacon in the city for entrepreneurship that creates social and environmental impact, promoting  business creation and growth and helping people build skills, knowledge and the confidence to develop their business idea.”

The Future Business Centre in Peterborough has affordable high quality offices and workshops for organisations in the environmental or social space including agri-tech, clean-tech, eco-tech and technology businesses working with the Internet of Things and smart cities agendas.  In addition there will be a Hatchery which will house structured incubation programmes for early stage start-ups and a virtual office service for people who don’t need space just yet.

Tim Jones continued “We know there are budding social entrepreneurs in Peterborough; we will work closely with the colleges and sixth forms in the city to encourage young people to consider business in these sectors as a possible career path and make use of the Centre to develop their employability skills accordingly. We hope that our experience and relationships with educators including Cranfield University, Cambridge Judge Business School, UCL, Anglia Ruskin, UCP and Northampton University will bring new opportunities.”

Steve Bowyer, Chief Executive of Opportunity Peterborough was at today’s announcement, he said: “The Future Business Centre Peterborough is another fantastic resource for budding social enterprise entrepreneurs in the city. As the local economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough provides a range of business support to help grow our economy: from providing economic intelligence and guidance to access funding, to running the city’s Bondholder Network and Ignite Peterborough, a business support programme for young people. We see this as a complementary offer and look forward to working in partnership with Allia.”

Councillor John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council, joined Allia and Opportunity Peterborough at  the new centre today, he said “This city is one of the UK’s fastest growing and most innovative.  The Future Business Centre Peterborough will become a vital part of the city’s growth.  It will encourage innovation and provide an environment where start-ups in emerging sectors can thrive.  Through the centre’s facilities, operator, collaboration with other partners, programmes and businesses, the city’s young people will be supported to gain the skills and vision they need for a bright future.  It will also improve the links between our schools and businesses – creating apprenticeships and placements – as well as inspiring the city’s next generation.”

Caroline Hyde, Director of Enterprise and Workspace at Allia commented “We really want to build the Future Business Centre as a hub for like-minded businesses and we are in conversation with a number of companies who would contribute to our vision. One of the big successes from Cambridge has been about creating a community of co-located companies who support each other. We would welcome anyone who has an idea or business that is about creating positive impact for people or planet.

She continued “We will soon be opening our doors for new tenants and any organisations wanting to hire our space for meetings and conferences.  From the autumn we will be launching our business support programme that combines pre-start support for those at the beginning of their business journey, a learn-by launch programme to help people get their businesses off the ground and a structured accelerator and incubation programme to help scale and grow early stage businesses. In addition we hope to announce a calendar of business support events and workshops that will be open to all free of charge. The creation of new businesses is such a vital and vibrant part of a city’s economy and we are optimistic there will be a good deal of interest in this in Peterborough”

She added “Another exciting feature of Future Business Centre Peterborough to follow later in the year will be an “Innovation Lab” – offering a research and development facility where businesses, individuals and young people will have easy access to technical equipment and machinery that will enable them to do rapid prototyping, development and testing

“Future Business Centre Peterborough will be home for people with good ideas who are passionate about making a positive difference in the world. We know that this City has enormous strengths already in the environmental and sustainable business sectors and we are looking forward to becoming a really useful part of Peterborough’s business and skills landscape and welcoming people to the Future Business Centre to see what we can offer. As a not-for-profit social venture ourselves our mission is to support social ventures to flourish – helping ideas and people to succeed – not driving profits.”

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