Life sciences

Business hub launched for life sciences firms

A new facility that provides workspace and collaboration opportunities for life sciences businesses across the Highland Council area was launched in Inverness today (Tuesday 27 March).

The NEXUS project is part of the Northern Innovation Hub, led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with funding from the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal.

It incorporates product showcasing opportunities for start-ups, new investors and international life science businesses that aspire to establish themselves in the Highlands.

Situated within Aurora House on Inverness Campus, tenants are offered shared workspaces and opportunities to work alongside likeminded businesses. They also have access to research and academic partners, all within close proximity to the NHS and the Centre for Health Science. 

NEXUS, which offers a range of tailored packages to suit individual business needs, is due to relocate to larger premises in 2019. 

The Pathfinder Accelerator programme, a tried and tested business programme nurturing growth in life sciences and technology and another element of NEXUS, also launched today.

The Pathfinder programme will be delivered in Inverness and across Highland Council area and will offer three months’ mentoring and intensive coaching support to help start-ups and budding entrepreneurs test their ideas and business model.

Companies will have the opportunity to determine quickly if their product or service is commercially viable, saving both time and money. Recruitment is underway for the first cohort of 2018 which will be delivered by HIE in partnership with the Leadership Factory and UP Accelerator.

Presentations and demonstrations from NEXUS businesses allowed guests to understand the breadth of innovation and development that is happening in the space.  Charlotte Wright, HIE chief executive, spoke to guests about the investment HIE and its partners are making in life sciences and technology, and the integral part Inverness Campus is playing in the development of these sectors. 

She said:  “The launch of NEXUS today marks the next stage of a long-term commitment by HIE to support life sciences and technology companies to achieve their goals and realise their full potential. support from the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and HIE will ensure a flexible and innovative approach to helping these types of business grow.

“Inverness and the Highlands is recognised as a key location for life sciences and technology businesses, with many examples of companies investing in the location. NEXUS will build on those successes over the next six years by creating new additional opportunities for business and collaboration.”

Also in attendance was Provost Helen Carmichael who spoke about the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and John Robertson, Programme Manager for the City Region Deal. John commented: “Everything about the campus is exciting and the NEXUS collaborative space in Aurora House  fits perfectly with the collaborative nature of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal and the focus on life Sciences.”.

The HIE-led Northern Innovation Hub forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal to help SMEs in the Highland Council area to improve their businesses through innovation.

The Inverness and Highland City-Region deal is a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highland and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.  The projects are also receiving funding from the European Union ERDF programme.

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