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Plymouth wins sector-first award for SME support

Plymouth University is first UK higher education institution to win national accreditation for SME support in Devon and Cornwall

The University of Plymouth has been given the Investor in Innovations Award for its management of three Innovation Centres in Cornwall, which are now home to more than 110 high-growth businesses, and which since their launch in 2011, have helped create more than 200 jobs.

Awarded by NEF: The Innovation Institute, the accreditation also covers the University’s Formation Zone incubation centres on campus and in Cornwall, which nurture embryonic businesses including graduate start-ups from Plymouth.

Professor Simon Payne, Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “Universities have the potential to be innovation engines for the economy, using their knowledge and expertise to catalyse socioeconomic development – and Plymouth is very proud of its track record in this field. To be recognised for having made such a difference to so many businesses in our region is a tribute to the many enterprising people who have developed our portfolio of support.”

During the accreditation process, members of NEF visited both the Plymouth campus and the Tremough Innovation Centre in Penryn and spoke with managers and staff about the work being done at Pool, Tremough and the Health and Wellbeing facility in Truro.

Bernard Curren, Director of Cornwall Innovation, added: “Since we launched our first Formation Zone in 2008, we’ve been on a journey, a learning curve that has resulted in the creation of an incubation, innovation and acceleration model that supports business development, through expert advice, opportunities to network and access to investment. It’s a model that we believe could be used in other areas of the country to stimulate innovation and economic growth.”

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