The centre has quickly become a widely recognised business innovation hub for Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and North Essex providing support for entrepreneurial growing enterprises occupying a mix of laboratory, office, co-working and meeting/event space.
Centre manager Kelly Boosey said: “We never had the opportunity to throw a big launch party given the best part of the year from the opening in November 2020 has been impacted by lockdown and restrictions. Therefore, this gives us a good excuse to celebrate the successes that the last year has brought and to thank our new and existing suppliers and friends for being part of the journey.
Tim Smith, the Deputy Managing Director of Oxford Innovation, the operator of the centre, said: “I would like to congratulate our centre management team for their energy, enthusiasm and sheer hard work in attracting over 20 businesses to the centre during the last 12 months; a period in which all business activities have been severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have filled the ground floor with bio-tech and life sciences companies, with all 16 laboratory benches now full. CodiKoat – our first lab customer – is going from strength to strength and has already expanded in the centre, ably assisted by The EpiCentre’s in-house Innovation Director, who has provided dedicated business support and help with further rounds of investment.
In September the EpiCentre opened its Cool Beans Café and has held over 10 successful in-person events since the easing of restrictions in July this year. “We are really starting to build a collaborative community of like-minded businesses; none of which would have been possible without the support of all those either involved directly with The EpiCentre or who have used this superb facility” adds Smith.
Nitin Patel, Member of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Board, who provided investment finance for the innovation centre along with a loan from West Suffolk Council, said: ““It is fantastic to see the diversity of companies operating from the centre that is providing an exciting launchpad for their futures. This has been a very positive start for The EpiCentre helping to grow SMEs through a turbulent period, to find the right space, to adapt, and scale.”
Guests also heard from Asa Burrows the managing director of resident company SKC Games who are developing a triple A game and their vision of creating a gaming hub and motion capture facility on the top floor of The EpiCentre.