Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was at Bournemouth University (BU) today, as new government funding was announced to create a joint business incubation centre for BU and Arts University Bournemouth (AUB).
The funding is part of an expansion of the Growth Deal for Dorset, which will see an extra £12.6 million invested in the county between 2016 and 2021.
The joint business incubation centre will enhance the internationally-recognised reputation of BU and AUB in the digital and creative sector, by providing business support to start-ups within these industries and other areas of expertise.
The Deputy Prime Minister also toured BU’s new Student Centre and heard about the development of new facilities at BU’s Talbot and Lansdowne campuses, including the BU International College and New Academic Building.
He said: “I’m very impressed to see the two universities work so closely together and particularly all the investment they are making in these new buildings, but also their determination to provide support to students and to graduates who want to create new businesses – not only study here but then work here and create jobs here.
“I think it’s very, very admirable, because that’s what you want from universities – not just a first-rate education you provide to students, but also an opportunity then to transform that learning into something which actually creates jobs and puts money into people’s pockets.”
The newly-announced Growth Deal funding will be channelled by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and is in addition to £66.4m of funding secured by the LEP in June last year.
Dorset LEP Board member Jitinder Takhar said: “The securing of the expanded Growth Deal provides Dorset with an exciting opportunity for further economic support, success and community impact.
“As a LEP this is an incredibly positive result for our area and is a great example of how the partnership between both the public and private sector can truly succeed in creating more jobs and driving economic growth in our county.”