A leading Midlands science park is enjoying a double celebration after a report highlighted its significant contribution to the region’s economy as it reaches a major milestone.
The positive effect of the University of Warwick Science Park on the regional economy was revealed in its recently-published impact report for 2022/23, which highlights the Science Park’s role in supporting businesses with targeted help and the tenants it looks after across its sites.
The report’s publication comes at the start of Science Park’s 40th anniversary, with its original site at the Venture Centre off Sir William Lyons Road having been opened by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984.
Since that time, it has offered a mix of office, workshop and lab space to appeal to hi-tech companies and University of Warwick spin-outs, and also works with various organisations to offer a range of business support.
Mark Tock, COO of the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “It’s amazing to see how far the Science Park has come since it first opened 40 years ago.
“We now operate across five sites instead of just one, and count 142 companies, many of which are at the cutting-edge of technology, as tenants.
“The impact report shows just how much influence we are having on businesses’ fortunes, and highlights some major success stories in the past financial year.”
The report revealed occupancy at the Science Park rose by 10 per cent, with 22 new tenants moving into the Science Park’s sites at the University of Warwick, the Warwick Innovation Centre, the Business Innovation Centre in Binley, and Blythe Valley Innovation Centre near Solihull.
Of these, 13 came through the Science Park’s ‘Ignite’ incubator programme designed to give start-ups flexible and affordable office space so they can easily take extra space as they grow.
Its range of business support services including mentoring, advice, and workshops, reached 739 businesses which went on to create 128 jobs as a result.
The Ignite programme also helped 99 start-ups access similar support to help them get started and grow.
The report also revealed that businesses received a total of £6.99m raised with the Science Park’s help through access to grants, debt funding and equity investment through its Minerva Business Angels network.
Finally, the Science Park held 100 events across the financial year, attracting more than 2,200 attendees.
Mark added: “The Science Park is only going from strength to strength, and we are looking forward to welcoming even more businesses and providing further support as we enjoy our 40th anniversary.
“We’ll be planning a mix of events and activities to mark the occasion, and will be revealing more details soon.”
Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “It’s incredible to see just how far the Science Park has come in 40 years, and that it continues to have such a positive impact on hundreds of businesses.
“We hope the Science Park enjoys its 40th anniversary celebrations and carries on its fantastic work to help cutting-edge firms grow.”
Craig Humphrey, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, said: “The purpose of the Science Park 40 years ago was to provide a space for innovation and ideas to be turned into commercial reality, utilising its strong links with the university.
“As it celebrates a key anniversary, that purpose remains the same and the Science Park continues to be a huge asset for the regional economy.”
Cllr Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy, said: “On behalf of everyone at Warwickshire County Council, I would like to congratulate the University of Warwick Science Park on their 40th anniversary of operations and the huge contribution that they make to the local and regional economy through their work supporting businesses with targeted help and support.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change said: “For the last 40 years, the Science Park has helped nurture and harness real innovation in our city and across the wider region. Their support has been essential for a huge number of cutting-edge businesses and for all the people that they employ.
“I’d like to say a huge congratulations to everyone involved – it’s an invaluable asset and I hope it is able to continue it’s incredible work for years to come.”
Read the impact report here.