A university business incubation centre has marked a decade of award-winning work with start-up enterprises and SMEs in the region with a celebratory evening of networking, talks and exhibitions.
Formation Zone was launched in 2008 at the University of Plymouth to provide incubation space for early stage start-up businesses and expert support to help them to thrive, grow, and succeed.
Over the course of its 10 years, based in the heart of the campus, Formation Zone has supported more than 200 businesses, helped create over 70 jobs, and assisted hundreds of students in developing their entrepreneurial skills.
During that time, it has grown to include partner incubation centres in Truro, Pool and Penryn, in Cornwall, as well as one at the Greenwich School of Management, in London. And in 2016, Formation Zone was awarded Innovation & Knowledge Exchange Accreditation, by NEF: The Innovation Institute.
The anniversary event showcased some of the biggest success stories to have come through Formation Zone, as well as some of Plymouth’s most innovative new entrepreneurs who are pioneering new uses for emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality.
Formation Zone’s Programme Manager, Eleanor Browne, said:
“I am immensely proud of our track record, and it has been great to see so many new businesses start and grow right here in Plymouth. We have helped to create high value, sustainable jobs and have been consistently recognised as a great place to start a business. After an amazing 10 years of award-winning success, I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Formation Zone, and the innovative businesses that we support. Our 10th anniversary is a great time to celebrate both our success stories and an exciting future.”
Martyn King, Managing Director of Fuel and one of Formation Zone’s first clients, added:
“Being in Formation Zone gave us immediate credibility, which is massively important for a start-up, and with a ten-year track record of success it is now an even better place to start a business. In the South West, only 45 per cent of businesses are still trading after five years, while businesses started in Formation Zone have a survival rate of over 77 per cent. It’s not just a great environment; statistically it’s where you want to be!”