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South Gloucestershire innovation hub Future Space posts record results

UWE Bristol-based science and tech hub Future Space has achieved record results in its third year of operation.

The innovation centre, which is managed by Oxford Innovation (OI) on behalf of the University of the West of England, Bristol, reached full capacity in 2019 and has demonstrated a real impact on the tech start-up scene and the broader regional economy.

Over 50 businesses occupy offices, labs and workshops in Future Space, spanning a wide range of sectors including robotics, health tech, life sciences, artificial intelligence, fintech and microelectronics. With over 300 high-value jobs created by tenants, the centre has already contributed over £9 million to the regional economy.

In 2019 alone, £10 million in finance was raised from grants and investment, including £4.7 million by local tech champions Open Bionics.

Founded in 2014, the company was based at Future Space for over three years, designing and engineering the next generation of accessible bionic limbs, including the ‘Hero Arm’, the world’s first clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm.

The high-flying bionics company is just one of many success stories for the innovation hub, utilising the commercial business support and facilities provided by Future Space.

Future Space innovation director Laura Stevens said: “We are all very proud of what we have achieved so far, a real testament to the hard work of our team and our close collaboration with the University of the West of England”.

“We have an amazing community of businesses in Future Space, their success drives our achievements, making this an incredibly exciting place to work in every day.’

Future Space sits at the heart of the University of West of England Enterprise Zone, co-located with the Bristol Robotics Lab and working in partnership with the Robotics incubator, focusing on robotics and hardware. The Launch Space is a unique ecosystem for recent graduates setting up businesses in the West of England and tipped for success.

One such success story is technology company Homelync. Having graduated from the Hardware Incubator in the Bristol Robotics Lab into Future Space, Homelync have grown rapidly recently winning best Big Data/IoT project of the year at the Digital Technology Leader Awards.

Professor Martin Boddy, pro vice-chancellor of research and enterprise at UWE Bristol and a key founder of Future Space commented “After just three years in operation, Future Space has achieved incredible milestones in terms of innovation and high-value job creation driving the growth of the regional economy – exceeding all expectations.  We are seeing ever-growing collaboration and joint working between Future Space businesses, university researchers, our students and recent graduates – a real win-win relationship and exactly what we had aimed for with Future Space and the University Enterprise Zone as a whole.  There is a fantastic buzz about the place.”

“This is testament to the growing importance and influence of the Bristol and Bath  region in these key sectors and we are delighted to be contributing and driving this forwards through Future Space and the UWE Bristol University Enterprise Zone – we are already looking to create Future Space 2, grow-on space for expanding businesses and new prospects in lab-based initiatives in life sciences and related areas as part of our ambitious 2030 strategic plans.”

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