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Hundreds of jobs to be created by Croydon Innovation Centre scheme

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CLOSE to 500 job opportunities will be created by council plans to open a leading-edge centre for fledgling entrepreneurs.

The authority is planning to launch an Innovation Centre offering owners of new small and medium--size businesses the chance to share affordable top quality offices and IT facilities.

The council believes its scheme will go further than existing commercial start-up business space offers by having experts on hand to help the businesses grow.

Councillor Vidhi Mohan, the council's cabinet member for communities and economic development, said: "The Innovation Centre will fill an unmet demand that has been identified within Croydon for the provision of this new type of workspace to support new business potential while linked to a university.

"It will be the flagship for Croydon having a reputation as an enterprising city and for the council's plans for economic growth, employment creation and the development of skills."

The go ahead in principle for the centre was given by the council's cabinet on Monday with a view to it playing an important role in boosting economic growth and supporting entrepreneurs who may otherwise get no help.

The council's intention is to sublease the whole operation to an expert provider of business advice, almost certainly linked to a university or research institute which already runs an innovation centre and can provide professional staff. The role of the advisers will include helping each business manage risk, secure finance and commercialise ideas quickly.

The centre's set-up will be funded by a £1.5m grant from the Mayor of London's post-riot regeneration fund.

It is expected the council will take out a ten-year lease in existing office space, hopefully close to East Croydon Station and its excellent transport links. A report to the cabinet says the centre is likely to take tenants from Croydon and the wider south London and coast-to-capital catchment areas.

It adds: "Borough-wide marketing will focus on finding entrepreneurs from areas with highest unemployment and riot affected areas."

Figures presented to the cabinet showed that the centre could support 267 businesses over the initial ten-year lease, creating 470 jobs. The centre would be able to accommodate 40 businesses and provide workspaces, offices and meeting rooms.

Hundreds of jobs to be created by Croydon Innovation Centre scheme


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