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£3m investment

Plans for £3m technology centre announced

A £3 million technology centre at Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, will create a centre of excellence for the development of technology businesses in the region, including those in the ‘environmental technology’ sector, it was announced today.    The Globe Innovation Centre will be sited within Globe Mills, a 150,000 square foot multi-storey former textile factory which itself is part of a multi-million regeneration project.

The project is the result of a joint venture between investment and property business, the Hartley Group; the diversified technology company, 3M; the University of Huddersfield and Kirklees Council.  The four shareholders signed a joint-venture agreement on site today to mark the first stage of the redevelopment which is scheduled for completion in 2013.

The region is already established as a ‘hot spot’ for sustainable technology, with 45 sustainable technology businesses operating within a 15 mile radius of Globe Mills.  It is expected that the Globe Innovation Centre will grow the local sector by 50 per cent.  Hartley Group and 3M will act as ‘angel investors’ for promising entrepreneurial businesses in the technology sector as a whole, including environmental technology. 

When the first phase of the development is completed in 2013, tenants will be able to access a range of flexible research and business support services that will help them grow into successful producers of technology.   The site will also comprise retail and leisure units and will meet market demand for quality, small, flexible business space and meeting rooms.

Stefan Gabriel, President, 3M New Ventures, said:  “Innovation is at the heart of 3M’s philosophy and I am excited about how Globe Innovation Centre can support our work to identify the technologies of tomorrow. By giving tenants the practical tools and support to successfully develop and commercialise their products, we hope to both be able to contribute to their growth in this vital area while building a pipeline to continue to strengthen 3M’s diverse portfolio.

“One of our goals at 3M is to identify, acquire and develop new technologies and disruptive business models.  Our support for the Incubator fits with our principle of driving innovation and growth and will give tenants practical tools and support to successfully develop and commercialise their innovations.  For us, the close collaboration with the University of Huddersfield will be another proven source for open innovation.  It will also allow us to identify promising entrepreneurs in whom we can invest directly and use our expertise to help the technologies they are developing achieve global success.”

Alan Lewis, CBE, Chairman, Hartley Group, said:  “We will be supporting and investing in tenants who represent start-up businesses, or established businesses seeking to expand.  Our vision, with our partners, is to establish Colne Valley as a major national business hub for the low-carbon economy, effectively a ‘Silicon Valley’ of technology development, including environmental technology.”

Professor Bob Cryan, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, said: “This project is a perfect example of how universities can work with both the public and private sectors to drive growth and contribute to the economic regeneration of the region. We are delighted to be a part of it.”

Cllr Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council, added: “Establishing the Globe Innovation Centre, with investment and support from Hartley Group, 3M and the University of Huddersfield provides a welcome opportunity for the development and growth of new technology sector businesses.  It demonstrates how the council is ‘open for business’ and is working in partnership to secure the regeneration of Globe Mills, which is a significant building in Slaithwaite, and to promote new business opportunities.”

The development of environmental technology has been identified by the Government as one of Britain’s key priority sectors for economic growth and competitive export as part of the Growth Agenda.  A feasibility study commissioned as part of the Renaissance Market Town programmes shows that West Yorkshire is well placed to take the lead in terms of sustainable energy technology.  Kirklees, in particular, has an international and national reputation for driving forward green initiatives.


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