A £500,000 investment loan from the London Enterprise Panel’s Growing Places Fund (GPF) will help finance the creation of a post-incubator science facility for small and growing companies at the new Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park.
The Cube, a high-tech scientific research & development centre, will open at Londoneast-uk Dagenham, east London, in June 2016 – providing science-related businesses with access to specialist laboratories.
The Mayor of London and Chairman of the London Enterprise Panel, Boris Johnson MP said: “London is already one of the greatest scientific cities on the planet so I am delighted that we will soon be able to add ‘The Cube’ to the long list of incredible institutions based here. I am sure that this new facility will help budding science companies to progress their exciting ideas.”
John Lewis, Managing Director of Londoneast-uk, says: “London urgently requires additional space to allow scientific businesses to evolve and grow. At the moment, because of the acute shortage of science space in the Capital, incubation businesses are having to look elsewhere for the specialist facilities they need to allow them to develop and expand. Consequently, companies are being forced to take their skills elsewhere in the UK, or even overseas.
“The Cube will enable these businesses to stay in London to carry out their research and development, and this will importantly help to kick-start the overall Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park programme. We see great potential for small businesses moving into The Cube and then taking additional space within Londoneast-uk as they grow and expand their operations.”
The £500,000 GPF loan unlocks £2.5 million of private investment from SOG Group, the owner and operator of Londoneast-uk, to finance a bespoke refurbishment programme at The Cube and to equip the building. Along with match funding from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, worth a further £826,000, a total of over £3.8 million will be available to the centre.
Mr Lewis says The Cube will ultimately accommodate up to 15 businesses employing more than 90 people, with all the companies having access to a wide range of specialist technical support, provided by SOG Group, which other science parks cannot offer.
“The Cube is ideal for small or growing businesses, currently based in the Capital and needing more space, or for companies outside of London, both nationally and internationally, who are desperate to be located in the Capital but require affordable premises which meet their needs,” added Mr Lewis.
SOG previously transformed the former ICI chemicals headquarters in Runcorn, Cheshire, into The Heath, an award-winning Business and Technical Park. SOG purchased the land and buildings which now form Londoneast-uk from multi-national pharmaceutical giant Sanofi in November 2014. The specialist laboratory, manufacturing and office buildings retained at the site would cost tens of millions of pounds to create from scratch. The Cube alone is estimated to cost around £10 million to construct today.
The facilities, which once produced life-saving medicines, now operate as a sister site to The Heath. Londoneast-uk already accommodates a training academy for engineers and is providing a temporary campus for 250 students of Elutec College of Engineering and Design while a permanent campus is being built at the location.
Mr Lewis said: “Financial support in the form of the loan from the Growing Places Fund, along with match funding from the local authority, was vital to enable us to raise the finances necessary to swiftly transform The Cube for use by other science-related businesses. Our post- incubator programme means Londoneast-uk will be offering small science companies cost-effective space with access to highly specialist technical support that is unique to London. The Cube will also contribute to attracting international inward investment to London.”
The Cube consists of a four-storey purpose built research & development facility with 45,582 sq ft of space, including laboratories, write up offices and a penthouse meeting room, suitable for a variety of science-related businesses operating in wet chemistry, bioscience and cell biology research. The high quality laboratories are being adapted by Londoneast-uk’s technicians to bespoke requirements, suitable for multi-occupancy use.
The state-of-the-art buildings at the site were scheduled to be demolished until SOG purchased them for their business and technical park portfolio. For more information visit: www.londoneast-uk.com
In April 2014, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP launched his MedCity initiative which aims to transform the life sciences sector in London, Oxford, Cambridge and England’s greater south east into a world-leading cluster for research, development, enterprise and commercialisation.
About London Enterprise Panel
The London Enterprise Panel (LEP) is the local enterprise partnership for London. Chaired by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the LEP is the body through which the Mayoralty works with London’s boroughs, business and Transport for London to take a strategic view of the regeneration, employment and skills agenda for London. The LEP is responsible for overseeing the allocation of over £400m of funding to drive jobs and growth in the capital and provides strategic oversight of London’s €1.5 billion European Structural & Investment Funds programme.
About Growing Places Fund
The Growing Places Fund is a revolving capital fund and aims to help deliver ambitious projects with tangible outcomes that respond to the London Enterprise Panel’s priorities. Public funding offers the opportunity to make strategic and long-term investment choices, which private sector investors might otherwise be unable to undertake in the absence of market incentives, because of the risk associated with the scale of the proposals, or their dependence on adequate public infrastructure. The Growing Places Fund is used to support projects that are strategically important to London’s economic growth, where its impact can be recaptured, repaid after time, and reused to fund new projects in other parts of London.