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Stowmarket: Innovation Labs offer year-long 'virtual membership'




East Anglian start-up companies have been given the opportunity to win entrepreneurship support as part of a year-long ‘virtual membership’ with the Innovation Labs in Stowmarket.

The labs were launched at the site off Prentice Road, opposite Stowmarket railway station, in November 2019 with support from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Mid Suffolk District Council as a space for start-ups to co-work, fostering creativity and productivity.

Peter Brady, chief executive of Orbital Global – one of the firms to have set up the labs – has admitted the project has been a challenge in the year of the pandemic. Nevertheless, he hopes the virtual membership offer can encourage businesses.

Support is on offer to start-ups at the Innovation Labs in Stowmarket.
Support is on offer to start-ups at the Innovation Labs in Stowmarket.

He said: “In what has been a very challenging year, Innovation Labs wants to play its part in offering hope and opportunity to Suffolk’s aspiring entrepreneurs. Our virtual memberships provide a unique blend of world leading support, advice, and skills, at a time when start-ups need them most.”

Each virtual membership includes exclusive benefits such as high-level mentoring, access to funding advice, business and innovation training sessions, support for business plan development and business networking assistance.

The Innovation Labs is offering 25 free virtual memberships for 12 months, for which applications are now open.

Mr Brady added: “The pandemic has made many people assess career aspirations. This initiative is a great opportunity for those who have long considered developing an innovative idea, but, lacked the know-how, funds or confidence to take it further.”

Interested parties have until November 27 to apply by submitting a 200-word entry outlining their business innovation concept and why they should be awarded a virtual membership.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Norfolk and Suffolk have established an excellent reputation for innovation and supporting start-ups and fostering business growth, especially in a challenging climate.”

Geraint Thomas, technology partner at 3 Points Digital, has been a a member of Innovation Labs since March. He said: “The founders each reached out to offer me support and advice to help me grow my business. These people are experts in what they do and the mentoring they offer is the making of your business.”

To apply, visit: www.virtual.innovationlabsstowmarket.com/

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