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9th November 2012, 10:41am
Lincoln the setting for national conference on 'unlocking potential' for new business growth
The Enterprise team at Lincoln Organisations from across the UK which strive to support new businesses to launch, grow and innovate will gather at the University of Lincoln to discuss the best ways of unlocking the potential of Britainís aspiring entrepreneurs.

Lincoln is the venue and sponsor of this year's UKBI Annual Conference, which takes place from 20th to 22nd November 2012.

UKBI is the national membership association of organisations and professionals actively involved in enterprise, innovation and sustainable economic growth, working across a wide range of public and private sectors.

The theme for this year's UKBI conference is 'Unlocking Potential' and the event will include conference streams on entrepreneurship, start up, innovation and accelerated growth. The conference programme will be split over three days to incorporate as broad a schedule as possible.

As one of the UK's most historic and fastest growing cities, Lincoln has been chosen as the setting for the conference, with the University hosting the majority of activities in the year that the University's award-winning business incubation centre, Sparkhouse, celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Sparkhouse, situated in the Enterprise Building on the main Brayford Pool campus, provides a dynamic environment and community in which new businesses are supported in the difficult early stages. The centre currently provides space for 32 businesses and a range of associated facilities.

In 2003 Sparkhouse became one of the first centres in the country to be recognised and accredited as a 'Best Practice' incubator by UKBI and was runner-up in their national 'Best Newcomer' award category. Since then, Sparkhouse has grown to become a significant catalyst for business start-up and knowledge transfer activity in the region.

Andrew Stevenson, Director of Research & Enterprise at the University of Lincoln, said: "The University endeavours to support innovation and enterprise in a number of ways, from offering academic expertise to industry through research and consultancy, to providing a supportive environment where start-up businesses can find their feet in their first few years, which are always the most challenging.
"It's incredibly rewarding to see how some of the businesses which started with us in Sparkhouse almost a decade ago have taken root and grown into strong, established businesses and employers. We have an excellent reputation for our work in supporting start-ups and SMEs so it seems fitting that Lincoln should be the setting for this important annual conference."

Peter Harman, Chief Executive for the UKBI, said: "UKBI are delighted to come to Lincoln for our annual conference. This is the first time that the conference has been held within the auspices of a university and we are very excited at the added dimensions that this will bring. Business incubation is an ecosystem of business support processes and most importantly of people.
"The University of Lincoln has been immensely successful in encouraging entrepreneurship and building links with the local business community, indeed so much so that they hold our 'Inspire' accreditation standard as a best practice business incubator. We and our members look forward to finding out more about the City and the University of Lincoln."

Alongside activities based at Sparkhouse and the Universityís Lincolnshire Leadership and Management Centre, the conference will include tours of other business incubators in the East Midlands and a gala dinner in the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral.

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