As we prepare to get ‘back to business’ post-Covid, many of us realise that we need more than just a desk when it comes to growth and acceleration. The absence of community highlights that there is no substitute for face-to-face communication, but it’s the value of working in an environment that cultivates and inspires collaboration that will help organisations that are ready to come back stronger.
This strategy forms the basis of the Oxford Innovation network of 26 centres around the UK, uniquely positioned and equipped to offer business support services through centre Innovation Directors.
Here at the Innovation centre part of the service we offer is access to business support through Neil Griffin our Innovation Director. This is for all the businesses within The Innovation Centre Knowledge Gateway (ICKG), with business support being delivered in a number of ways. This in turn really sets us apart from other operators within the Eastern region, and here is why….
Neil can cover coaching (he is a qualified Peak Performance Coach), business networking and making connections, plus improving skills and knowledge, we look at the importance of business support. While there may be a growing trend towards flexible workspaces that do not tie businesses in on long, medium or even short leases, there are few of these that really work on the philosophy that “their success is our success”. We firmly believe in collaboration here and not just being office space to rent.
At the best of times trying to grow a business can seem overwhelming and how often have you heard the phrase, “I can’t see the wood for the trees”. Building a business is no easy task and while it all may have seemed clear in the first flush of excitement where you had a great idea or a sure-fire winner of a product, the starry-eyed excitement soon wears off and reality kicks-in.
It can be a lonely road out there with so many things to think about – “what is my great idea”, “how do I go about growing it” and “where do I get the funds to move forward”?
More often than not the great idea is the vision of one person or a small group of people who haven’t had that the benefit of running a business and little idea of taking a product or service to market.
Of course, there is always a bit of luck involved, being in the right place at the right time, but accelerating the programme could save a lot of time, money and heartache.
Below are some of the tools and services used to help provide valuable insights and direction:
Business Model Canvas – this a strategic management template used for developing new business models and documenting existing ones. It is a great tool to help understand and strategize value for both existing business models and new opportunities. Put simply, you can see where you are as a business and where you want to go.
GROWTHmapper – this is the UK’s leading business diagnostic tool, developed by Oxford Innovation. This process involves input online, independently from Senior Managers and is used to highlight strengths as well as areas for improvement.
OION is our Angel Network – part of the service we offer is to help you prepare for pitches if you plan to raise capital. As part of SQW Group, The EpiCentre is also well connected with Innovate UK Edge for access to grants and finance.
AWS, as we are a partner with Amazon under the activate scheme, we can get your business access to AWS credits and tech support. This can be up to $10,000 and used over a multitude of things including, a secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help businesses scale and grow quickly. Neil can endorse your business with an account set up and credits available within two weeks.
Beauhurst – with this tool we can discover, track and monitor high growing businesses. We can also generate investment reports for your business that show what grants and funding is available for your growing business.
Business and community events – we endeavour to support our customers by hosting events that deliver tangible value and provide networking opportunities. For that all important downtime we have a wellbeing area with pool table, ping pong and cycle desks, plus our outside space is full of outstanding greenery.
As we are located on the edge of the University of Essex campus, we have a direct route to the Knowledge exchange team, Employability team, Angels@essex, Essex Startups, as well as individual departments such as Computer science. This helps with finance, interns, research, and the visibility of your business.
Our networks are extensive and include big hitters such as Innovate UK, Technation, Tech East and local governing bodies. But we also value peer-to-peer networks so you will meet like-minded people here who you can collaborate with.
As the leading operator of incubation space and suitable environments for businesses to prosper, we identify businesses with growth potential and deliver the bespoke support that they need to scale up. By improving commercial competency, businesses become more resilient, create jobs and generate wealth.
And that is what we have been doing since 1987 at Oxford Innovation. We have supported over 7,000 SMEs to become sustainable businesses, creating high-value jobs, innovative products and services and as a result, enhancing local economies. As you can see we are more than just office space to rent.
We look forward to helping a whole new generation of innovative businesses to grow.
For further details on facilities and business support services, click on The Innovation Centre website. Or email our Innovation Director Neil Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org 07763567402 We are here to help to take your business to the next level. and