More than 100 start-ups and early-stage firms at two innovation centres in south Hampshire are to benefit from the expertise of a business advisor.
Monika Dabrowska is the new in-house Innovation Director for Fareham Innovation Centre, which is next to Solent Airport, and Ocean Village Innovation Centre in Southampton.
With extensive knowledge of innovative technologies across different sectors, Monika will be assisting occupiers with in-house business support.
She will be helping entrepreneurs with one-to-one mentoring, workshops, seminars, programmes, funding and, with the universities of Southampton, Solent and Portsmouth, knowledge transfers through internships.
Stephen Brownlie, Centre Director at Fareham Innovation Centre, said: “More than 135 businesses have benefited to date from this invaluable in-house service; Monika has joined the team to add her expertise and to support businesses at the innovation centres.”
Fareham Innovation Centre is home to 40 pioneering companies, with 45 at Ocean Village Innovation Centre.
They range from start-ups to established businesses. Sectors include aviation, marine, maritime, aerospace, engineering and advanced manufacturing.
Stephen added: “The importance of small-to-medium size enterprises on the local economy cannot be underestimated – according to government figures there are 5.7 million in the UK, comprising 99% of all businesses.
“Of those, the vast majority are micro businesses of up to nine employees, accounting for 96% of all businesses in the UK. Many of our customers are of this smaller size and they are the unsung heroes of the local economy.
“Thanks to Monika, and the wider support staff at our innovation centres, customers can benefit from business support advice, helping to forge inward investment, expand supply chains and create new jobs locally.”
Monika was appointed following a rigorous selection process by Oxford Innovation, which runs both centres, as well as two others in Hampshire – BASE Bordon Innovation Centre and Portsmouth Technopole.
Oxford Innovation also operates a further 22 innovation centres elsewhere across the UK.
With a wealth of experience in obtaining EU and national funding for R&D and capital investment, Monika has also advised and assisted in management of EU-funded projects.
She said: “One of my key roles will be to act as an innovation catalyst, guiding business owners from idea to profitable revenue streams.
“Wearing the business growth accelerator hat, I’ll be identifying prime growth opportunities customers, backed up with structured plans for realistic expansion.
“It’s also about connecting customers with qualified professionals and peers so everyone benefits from best practice and latest thinking.”