A new state-of-the-art building focused upon knowledge transfer and regional business development has opened at Keele University, a Midlands Commercialisation of Research (MICRA) partner.
The Denise Coates Foundation Building is a three-storey landmark development at the entrance to the Keele campus. It collocates Keele Business School with a “Smart Innovation Hub” and collaborative workspaces. It was officially opened on Friday (24 January 2020) when Denise Coates CBE, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, and Nataliey Bitature, an entrepreneur and Keele Business School alumna who was one of Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 in 2018, cut the ribbon.
The new space houses both the Smart Innovation Hub, a project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and Innovation Centre 6 – providing 7,500ft2 of modern workspace, multiple support programmes for innovation-led businesses and significant opportunities for students and staff to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and business owners, allowing all parties to build invaluable networks and share knowledge and best practice. The Denise Coates Foundation Building’s open layout and unique co-location of teaching and business space enables students, staff and local enterprises to build networks and work effectively.
With the Business School opening in the Denise Coates Foundation Building, Keele becomes the first UK universityto locate a business school on a Science Park. Facilities include a 208-seat lecture theatre, a ‘think lab’ study space, data laboratory, cafe and a business lounge, providing a purpose-built meeting space for students and businesses alike. Programmes on offer include accounting, business management, economics, finance, human resource management, international business, management and marketing.
Keele’s Business Studies and Finance courses were ranked in the Top 10 for overall student satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Survey. The School was also ranked 3rd overall in the UK’s 2019 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, cementing the University’s commitment and dedication to its students.
Keele University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Trevor McMillan, said:
“I am also delighted to officially welcome the 16 innovative enterprises that have recently moved into this great new building. They have joined a Science and Innovation Park community that is continuing to grow in strength, enabling the University to grow its programme of research, development and innovation support to local businesses.”
“This [development] offers students the unique opportunity to study alongside pioneering companies, in a state-of-the-art facility that will help strengthen Keele’s sector-leading student experience and provide an innovative learning and teaching environment.
“This new landmark on campus provides the space for students and staff to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and business owners, gaining invaluable networks and experience.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman, Alun Rogers, said:
“This… demonstrates what can be achieved through successful cross sector partnerships… Our universities play a vital role in our economy, bringing in investment, creating jobs and strengthening communities. They have played an integral role in formulating our local industrial strategy which will steer our future economic growth plans. We have worked closely with Keele University to create the Smart Innovation Hub and supported it through our allocation of the Government’s Local Growth Fund.”
Cllr Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council, who have invested £2.37m in the creation of the new business support and accommodation facilities, added:
“It is fantastic to see the hub in operation – providing the county with a high-quality centre for business and will also support the creation of more skilled employment. Our Keele Deal, which includes a range of partners, will help to improve productivity at a local, regional and national level, and play an important part in our continued economic growth.”