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Start-up incubator sees high demand for places, with more new businesses inducted

Twenty-four new businesses join LUinc. as part of autumn intake.

The Autumn 2023 cohort at LUinc.
Incubator manager Pete Hitchings addresses the Autumn 2023 cohort at LUinc.

Leicestershire start-up incubator, LUinc., has accepted 24 new businesses onto the autumn cohort.

Since 2011, Loughborough University graduates and researchers have worked on developing new businesses through the incubator.

Last year, its services were extended to founders from outside of the campus following the formation of a partnership with the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and Charnwood Borough Council.

"Bringing together businesses from the University and the local area has grown a diverse community of business owners who are really invested in helping one another to succeed," said Pete Hitchings, Incubator Manager.

A total of 81 founders expressed interest in applying for one of 20 available places. This season's cohort was extended to 24 members.

The project aims to develop a new generation of local businesses which are ‘fit for the future’ in their agility, focus on emerging markets, and commitment to scale-up and growth.

LUinc. provides a six-month programme aiming to increase productivity and job creation by incubating innovative new businesses.

Of the 24, fifteen local entrepreneurs were accepted for the project’s third cohort after applying from outside of the university ecosystem. The remaining nine are graduate start-ups and research spinouts.

Incubator 2023 members.
Incubator 2023 members.

Members benefit from free weekly meetings, one-to-one coaching, structured training, and roundtable discussions delivered by a range of experienced experts and entrepreneurs.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chair of the LLEP Innovation Board, said: "It’s essential for any economy to have productive and innovative small businesses and entrepreneurs.

"Programmes such as those at LUinc. are retaining and developing bright new business ideas, which is so important in the wake of the Pandemic."

The first two cohorts helped launch 12 new businesses, supported 304 individuals through events or one-to-ones, and steered 24 businesses to enterprise or start-up support.

Sirius Transformation joined LUinc. in the Spring of 2022 after making an initial inquiry through the Careers and Enterprise Hub in Loughborough town centre.

Founded in late 2021 by former 3M employees, James Whyley and Steven Sleath, Sirius is a manufacturing process improvement consultancy based on its founders’ extensive regulated industry experience. It now operates UK-wide.

Sirius founders Steven Sleath and James Whyley
Sirius founders Steven Sleath and James Whyley.

James, from Loughborough, said: “We’ve gained a lot from the camaraderie with fellow entrepreneurs and also having that natural rhythm to our working days that we had when working within a corporate environment but might have lost had we decided to start up from home."

Steven, from Syston, added: “We have gone from an idea to a fully functioning business while part of LUinc.”

"It is great to see so many start-up companies seeking support from LUinc.," said Cllr Jonathan Morgan, Leader of Charnwood Borough Council. "We look forward to seeing them grow and develop in the future.

"As a Council, we’re committed to creating a thriving economy; small businesses are often central to that and that’s why we are keen to support them."

The ongoing project was part-funded with £314,000 from a Covid-19 Recovery Fund, created using Enterprise Zone Business Rates.


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