A government minister has hailed an innovative rural hub in Warwickshire as a perfect example of a launch-pad for new and small businesses in rural areas to thrive.
Online PR News – 05-September-2013 – Coventry – A government minister has hailed an innovative rural hub in Warwickshire as a perfect example of a launch-pad for new and small businesses in rural areas to thrive.
Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, today officially opened the new Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park which is part of the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.
The Rural Growth Network is among five pilot projects across England which has been created to support small firms in rural areas as part of a major initiative to boost the rural economy.
The cutting-edge centre has 16 offices for businesses from any sectors based in rural areas of Warwickshire and will provide a range of services, from finance and support delivered by a range of partners to meeting rooms and ultra-fast broadband.
It is part of the Rural Growth Network funded by DEFRA, and led by Warwickshire County Council on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and will create or safeguard 500 jobs over the next few years.
Paterson said: “Stoneleigh Park is a great business and local employer. With our £150,000 investment I hope it will become even better, creating more jobs in the area. Our rural communities have a massive role to play in helping us to compete with other countries.
“That’s why we have invested £400 million in rural businesses helping to create over 8,500 new jobs in rural areas.”
Sir Peter Rigby, Chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The sole aim of the LEP is to grow the economy of Coventry and Warwickshire. Part of that involves helping to attract funding from Government, and the Rural Growth Network is a prime example.
“Stimulating growth in the SME sector is vital, especially at a time when the economic indicators are positive. The Rural Innovation Centre will help businesses establish their own base and will offer a wide range of support to help them grow and thrive.”
Stoneleigh Park is an established hub for the agricultural sector where a ten-year, £50 million programme by LaSalle Investment Management is underway to revitalise the site as an internationally-renowned centre for agriculture, rural business, science and innovation.
Stoneleigh Park is part of BEST Network (the Business Environments for Science and Technology Network), the largest privately-owned portfolio of science and technology parks in the UK, assembled and managed by LaSalle Investment Management.
Colin Hooper, Estates Director at Stoneleigh Park, said: “We believe we have created the ideal environment for a very dynamic business centre to serve the needs of young and growing firms from a wide range of sectors within rural Warwickshire.
“Stoneleigh is being transformed into a thriving science and technology park, and we hope that the businesses which base themselves at the Rural Innovation Centre will grow with us here.”
Cllr Alan Cockburn, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to work with LaSalle Investment Management on the delivery of this flagship project.
“The centre is also just part of a wider package of support including specialist advice, one-to-one mentoring, coaching, grants and loans.
“We would encourage rural businesses in any sector and people looking to start their own business to contact us to find out how the Rural Growth Network can help.”