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Phoenix Centre set to soar

The Phoenix Centre, a business incubator on the York St John University campus, has been hailed a resounding success with activity confirmed to extend beyond the original two years of the scheme.

York St John University is taking over the reins from Science City York in managing the highly successful unit, launched in 2009 to kick start the development and growth of a new generation of creative and digital businesses for Yorkshire and the North East. The pioneering initiative was led for the first two years by Science City York with funding from Yorkshire Forward. With a strong track record in supporting start-ups and graduate employability in the region, York St John University is ideally placed to stimulate the sustainability of the Centre going forward with continued support from Yorkshire Forward funding.

The significant success of the business incubators has meant that the Centre is now recruiting a new cohort, with a series of business briefings being held in the Phoenix Centre at York St John University on Monday 11 July. Businesses must be in their first year of trading, be able to demonstrate a potential for growth and show an enthusiasm to engage with York St John University faculties and students. From September 2011 occupants’ business remits will broaden beyond solely the creative and digital sector, as was the case in previous years, to any innovative start-up business. There is capacity for around 6-10 businesses (depending on size) and occupants would take up their position in the Centre from 1 September.

The Phoenix Centre provides affordable space for new ventures, with access to specialist technical facilities and sector-specific business support, mentoring and training. Business can occupy space in the Centre for a maximum of one year, with significantly subsidised rental rates and comprehensive business development support. Over the past two years, 16 fledgling businesses have benefited from the support of the incubation facility, working alongside complementary businesses to improve the quality and diversity of their work and to learn how to grow their business.

In addition to the training, CPD and business development support occupants are able to access throughout their year, the new cohort will benefit from a number of enhancements to the scheme. A full time Centre Manager will work to support the long-term sustainability of the Phoenix Centre and businesses will be recruited based on their potential for synergy between other businesses in the Centre. Science City York will continue their support and provide a series of programmes bringing differing expertise under one roof through an open innovation acceleration programme.

Heather Niven, Creative York Manager at Science City York, coordinated the development of the Phoenix Centre from the start and will continue to support it in its next phase. She commented:

“Science City York is delighted to hand over the management of the Phoenix Centre to York St John University and we’re really excited to be kicking off the next stage. From the start we have encouraged an open approach to transforming raw talent into successful business and the new open innovation accelerator programme which SCY will be running alongside the Incubator, using ‘open innovation’ practice to help large and small companies develop their processes and products is set to build on that.”

Sue Reece, Pro Vice Chancellor (Development) of York St John University added:

“The Phoenix Centre has been a huge success with an abundance of innovative businesses realising their ambitions under one roof. We have seen fantastic collaboration between the incubating businesses and our staff and students, giving both a taste of what is possible when creative and business minds collide.

“Additionally, the Phoenix Centre further enhances York St John’s reputation in working with businesses and encouraging growth, and builds on the success of our own incubation initiatives such as the DesignWorks unit on campus.”

Phoenix Centre logo

Picture shows: Heather Niven, Creative York Manager, pictured with 2010 - 2011 Phoenix occupants Snapshot Media

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk


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