Tuesday, 18 March 2014 10:23

Former minister to open rural hub

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Former minister to open rural hub

FOMER trade minister Digby Jones is to officially open the University of Cumbria's Rural Growth Hub.

Offering a variety of resources and support packages, the Rural Growth Hub is located at the university's Ambleside campus and has been created to support small business across a range of sectors.

Lord Jones, a past director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will open the Rural Growth Hub on Tuesday 22 April.

Guests will be given tours of the facility, including exhibition stands showcasing the work of the business tenants who are already using the hub's resources.

A key note speech will be given by Lord Jones, which will be followed by a panel debate focusing on 'challenges to growth and sustainability for rural businesses'.

Lord Jones said: "I am delighted to be officially launching the Rural Growth Hub at the University of Cumbria in Ambleside. The hub is a wonderful resource in the heart of the Lake District National Park, which will provide space and support to the business community.

"The hub will stimulate co-working and collaboration, to the benefit of local businesses and budding student and graduate entrepreneurs.

"Small business growth is critical to the modern economy and regional growth; the partnership between business and education, and the ability to share ideas, be creative and collaborate are important ingredients for success."

The Rural Growth Hub comprises of two buildings, The Beehive and Low Nook, which have been fully refurbished as part of a major redevelopment project at the Ambleside campus.

Resources include free wi-fi, video conferencing facilities, a virtual reception, access to office space, hot-desking and high quality workshop facilities.

Cumbria University vice chancellor Peter Strike said: "It will be a pleasure to welcome Lord Digby Jones, a supporter of small businesses, to the hub next month for its official opening and we look forward to exhibiting the excellent work that is taking place here.

"The Rural Growth Hub is already benefiting a range of businesses which are using the superb resources on offer at the facility."

The Rural Growth Hub is part of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership's Rural Growth Network pilot and is one of eleven across the county offering space and support to local businesses and entrepreneurs.

The facility received a Rural Growth Network grant of £199,500 to upgrade and expand the office space and improve broadband connections to 100 mb/s.

The university has worked closely with Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce in developing the exciting new hub.

Professor Strike added: "We are delighted to be a partner in the Rural Growth Network in Cumbria. The facility will support the aims of the university – supporting social and economic regeneration in Cumbria.

"We encourage and support business collaboration, entrepreneurship and innovation with our students and graduates, and businesses across the county, and look forward to supporting the growth and sustainability of our rural communities and businesses."

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