First look at business incubator Innovation Central

Innovation Central

Senior councillors have visited Innovation Central, a new £8.3m office building that aims to support small businesses and encourage further economic growth for Darlington.

The newest addition to Central Park, Innovation Central follows in the footsteps of its sister site, the popular Business Central, by offering Grade A office workspaces for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).

Innovation Central takes a step further by offering additional space that can be used as a laboratory or ‘clean space’, with the aim of building on the success of the wider Central Park site as a growing life sciences sector hub.

The project is designated as a small scale incubator site to nurture innovative start-ups, and potentially high growth businesses – a goal identified in the 2015 Innovation Strategy which sets out a vision for the Tees Valley.

The building will be operated by the North East BIC who already operate the existing Business Central on Central Park.

Building work on Innovation Central is expected to be complete later this summer and the BIC will occupy the building from October 2022. Alongside this, the whole of Central Park is undergoing a major facelift that will create an attractive, high-quality business park, ripe for potential new investors and businesses.

This project is jointly funded by Darlington Borough Council, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), £3.55million from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, and the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

Council leader Jonathan Dulston and cabinet member for economy, Cllr Alan Marshall, were given the opportunity to tour the new building ahead of its completion.

Councillor Dulston said: “Innovation Central is a great addition to Central Park and is another step forward in our long-term strategy to make Darlington stand out to both new and established businesses looking for a place to grow.

“The facility is first class and I look forward to welcoming its first tenants.”

Councillor Marshall added: “Central Park is going from strength to strength and is becoming a real hive of activity and cementing Darlington’s position as a key player in the life sciences sector.

“Innovation Central is also in a prime spot for any start-ups looking to make the most of Treasury North coming to Darlington. It’s a great time for any small business in the town that’s looking to grow.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Central Park is already one of the jewels in the crown of our life sciences sector and Innovation Central will provide top-quality space for even more innovative SMEs.

“We invested £3.5million to make this project a reality, to give smaller businesses the best start possible as they grow and create the good-quality, well-paid jobs of the future.”

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