Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln has been granted over £2.6 million in European funding for two major entrepreneurship and innovation projects.
The funding, which will increase support for the development of businesses, communities and the economy of Greater Lincolnshire, has come from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and is the biggest investment ever secured by the university.
BGU has purchased St. Hugh’s on Newport, an iconic Grade II listed building, to provide a new home for the projects. The building is on the site of an Augustinian Friary and has been used as offices for many years.
The projects are:
- Lincolnshire Open Research and Innovation Centre (LORIC), which has a total value of £3.5 million (ESIF contribution £2.1 million)
- BGU Business Inspiration, which has a total value of £878k (ESIF contribution £527k).
The two projects will run until spring 2019 and spring 2020 respectively, and will provide support for over 130 small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and social enterprises and will create eight jobs.
Mark Bowen, Enterprise Development Manager at BGU, said: “The LORIC project will provide support to businesses, public and third-sector organisations across Greater Lincolnshire and position the university at the leading edge in the use of open data to support innovation.
“The Business Inspiration project is designed to develop entrepreneurial leadership, with a particular focus on innovative approaches to growing small and micro-businesses. It includes a £307k grant-making fund that will encourage businesses in using creative and innovative approaches. It will provide successful applicants with up to 100% funding as well as financial support to employ graduate interns and placements.
“We plan to refurbish St Hugh’s to create LORIC. The work is expected to take about 11 months to complete, but we already have a live project running in the background.
“As a result of setting-up LORIC and our associated project BGU Business Inspiration, we are intending to create eight new jobs but, by the time we have reached our target, around 40 people will be working at St Hugh’s.”
Mark added: “Once again this highlights the commitment of BGU to developing the communities that have supported us for more than 155 years.
“Thanks are due to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Lincolnshire County Council’s Technical Assistance team and the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub for their unstinting support throughout the challenging application process, which took more than a year to complete.”
BGU will be making a total investment of £1.6 million with participating businesses contributing £153k.