28th January 2005

 

SPARKHOUSE ACCREDITED FOR HELPING LOCAL BUSINESSES

 

Sparkhouse Studios in Lincoln has become one of only seven recognised incubation centres in the region to be accredited by the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA).

 

The centre, situated on the Ropewalk in Lincoln next to the university’s Great Central Warehouse Library, specialises in providing support to start-up businesses working in the creative industries. It currently houses 15 small businesses which specialise in areas ranging from web site design to video production, radio advertising and graphics.

 

The East Midlands has become the first region in the country to assess and adopt a formal accreditation system for incubators, which help to promote local businesses by providing subsidised rent and support from knowledgeable professionals.

 

An East Midlands Accreditation Standard for Incubation has been established by EMDA and UK Business Incubation (UKBI), which set standards to evaluate the quality procedures and services offered by each incubation centre in the region.

 

Standards are awarded to incubators which pass the given requirements; Sparkhouse Studios has received a foundation level certificate, valid for two years. As the building’s facilities mature, higher levels of assessment will ensure that it continues to evolve and achieve yet higher standards.

The University of Lincoln is in the process of developing a range of extensions to its business incubation activity at Sparkhouse, which will include further development of physical facilities, implementation of virtual incubation and office support and a focus on the pre-incubation stage to ensure businesses entering the centre are able to maximise the value of their time spent in it.

Sparkhouse Studios Centre Manager, Andrew Stevenson, welcomed the accreditation initiative. “I believe it's an excellent idea and one that raises the bar for incubation not just for Sparkhouse Studios but for the East Midlands as a whole,” he said.

 

“It is a real opportunity for the East Midlands to show that it is forging ahead with its desire to become a 'Top 20' region by 2010, through quality as well as quantity.”

 

Matt Cross, Assistant Press Officer

(01522) 886625                                   mcross@lincoln.ac.uk

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