LSBU’s Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation
- Published: Monday, 14 September 2015 15:04
- Written by National Centre for Universities and Business
LSBU has invested £10m in its new Clarence Centre, home to the university’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise team, student entrepreneurs, businesses and social enterprises and services to the local community.
The Centre offers high quality fully serviced offices for fledgling businesses and social enterprises, event facilities and retail space. It also houses a business lounge for local companies, a public coffee shop, and a business advice centre which act as gateways to the University and its expertise.
The Clarence Centre showcases the very best of LSBU’s students’ and academics’ work; creates an accessible resource for the community; and provides a focus for the rich relationships which thrive between the University and its neighbours. Vice Chancellor, Professor David Phoenix, says “We want to ensure that our graduates leave us industry savvy, commercially aware, and community minded; the Clarence Centre opens up opportunities for our students to develop pathways between us and our communities.”
The Centre is home to LSBU’s student entrepreneurs and is a base for their start-ups and enterprise projects. Last year LSBU engaged over 2600 students in the different talks, 1-2-1 sessions and start-up schemes it has grown for them. LSBU’s Student Enterprise team and Academic Enterprise Champions supported over 25 new businesses with the invaluable help of external mentors and partners. The Clarence Centre is home to some of the most creative and successful SMEs in London in a range of exciting sectors such as Digital Media and Design, Energy Services, Healthcare, Creative Industries and Social Enterprise. These relationships help the university maintain its excellent, industry-focused teaching and research.
The Clarence Centre has a wide range of space for use by the community and by businesses at different stages. It has over 40 tenants in individual offices in the Clarence Centre and the nearby Technopark, plus additional start-ups using individual desk space. There are four street front retail units which house a digital design and print agency, a Business Advice Centre and a Legal Advice Clinic, staffed by students, which all serve the local community. The Business Advice Centre and the Legal Advice Clinic enhance the skills of students by providing the opportunity to observe and participate in the delivery of advice to local businesses and individuals.
“Regular events include those held by our Enterprise Team for students and local businesses,” Professor Phoenix explains. “Others are run by tenants, including LSBU partner Collaborate, a think-tank for cross-sector collaboration in public services, which regularly holds external events to discuss imbedding more interdisciplinary and collective practice within healthcare, public services, and public policy.”
The Clarence Centre has been created through the conversion of a Grade II listed run of terraced houses and the Duke of Clarence pub. It was shortlisted in the Architects’ Journal’s Retrofit Awards and received a Civic Trust Award recognising its contribution to the built environment and local community. The renovation project was an integral part of LSBU’s strategy to anchor itself in the local community and to create a visible entrance to the University from the city.