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MMU establishes incubator for graduate entrepreneurs

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Pink Pineapple's Jenny Prince and Catherine Turner with Trevor Baylis at the launch of Innospace

One of Britain’s best known inventors has officially opened MMU’s graduate business incubator Innospace at Minshull House. Trevor Baylis, inventor of the clockwork radio, declared the £300,000 project "a fantastic idea" and exclaimed "I wish I’d had support like this when I started out".

900m² of exam hall has been transformed into modern, open plan office space for up to 120 entrepreneurs. In addition to offering all the facilities of a new office, Innospace allocates each budding entrepreneur a business mentor, offers free business advice and organises workshops and events tailored to meet their needs.

The aim of the project is to offer graduates the opportunity to set up and grow their own businesses within a creative, stimulating and supportive environment.

Around 200 guests from the worlds of business, training and education attended the launch, which was presided over by MMU Vice-Chancellor Professor John Brooks.

MMU’s graduate entrepreneurs

Jenny Prince, 22, from Whitehaven, Cumbria, is one of the first to be accepted by Innospace. Jenny and fellow MMU graduate Catherine Turner, who both achieved First Class Honours, have set up Pink Pineapple, a hire-and-buy party gear company.

Jenny comments: “I’ve wanted to run my own business since I was in school but getting premises is quite a challenge. Working from home is also not ideal; it’s much better to have a city centre address.”

“It’s also much easier to set up business in an atmosphere like this than on your own,” added Jenny. “Sharing Innospace will inevitably help us to learn from each other. Every University should have an incubator!”

Support is the key to success

Dominic Martinez, project manager of Innospace, says: “Our research indicates that the type of support Innospace offers in the first 12 months of a business can substantially improve long-term business viability. Innospace is open to all graduates with a good idea and motivation to make it a success.”

Anyone wanting to join Innospace is invited to an informal interview to discuss their business idea and signed up for 12 months at the incubator if successful, for an annual fee of just £200. Further information and an application form can be found at www.innospace.co.uk

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