New units on university campus occupied

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Fledging businesses have become the first to occupy incubator units at the university campus in Bognor Regis.

The one-person enterprises are the initial results of the University of Chichester’s drive to help to improve the town’s economy.

Two of the businesses are related to the arts. The third is providing a sporting service.

University vice-chancellor Professor Clive Behagg said: “We have ten incubator units and support services at our Bognor campus for start up businesses.

“They have been developed as part of the Seeda (South East England Development Agency) funding.

“Three of the incubators are occupied. I’m expecting the other seven units to be as well by the end of the year.”

The rooms were created through the £13m investment at the Upper Bognor Road campus funded through public money from bodies such as Seeda and the university’s finances.

Further facilities are also due to be created as part of an expansion of the business school and enterprise leadership and management work at the university.

It has attracted 426 students in the current year. That number will increase in September as part of the growth of activity - to 1,693 students and 450 staff - at the campus in spite of studying becoming more expensive.

“Applications are up in the Bognor subject areas.

“They are down in general on last year and the year before but I believe we will fill all our places.”

Romy Jones, the chief executive team’s strategic development manager at the university, said: “The incubators have come about as a result of an increased emphasis on enterprise education.

“But we are still interested in working in the community and supporting and developing businesses in that area.”

Those occupying the incubators would be expected to leave within three years and move to follow up facilities. These were likely to be away from the campus to give the entrepreneurs wider experience.

Innovation clinics were also planned at the university where anyone with an idea would be able to get advice.

The university is also involved in providing space for new businesses alongside the new Sainsbury’s store on Shripney Road as part of the overall redevelopment of the former Lec site.