A hi-tech medical research and development business has moved into the University of Derby’s new Innovation Centre, part-funded by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Kakou Technologies designs and manufactures products to remove barriers for disabled people from accessing music and the arts. It has now relocated to the University of Derby’s Innovation centre in Chesterfield, a move which would not have been possible without D2N2 help, thanks to the LEP’s part-funding of the centre.
D2N2 is a Local Enterprise Partnership of businesses, local authorities, skills and training providers and community and voluntary sector organisations. D2N2 works to grow the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire economy, with the aim of creating 55,000 new jobs in ten years (2013-2023).
As part of its aim, D2N2 has a £250million allocation of Local Growth Funding from Government. This is allocated to projects across its area which improve infrastructure and provide space for businesses to grow.
D2N2 allocated £3.48million Local Growth Funding to the renovation of the former St Helena’s Grammar School in Chesterfield. This is now the University of Derby’s Chesterfield Campus. It offers students in the area the latest in training and learning, as well as an Innovation Centre. This is used by SMEs to develop businesses ideas and is now home to Kakou Technologies.
Kakou Technologies provide products with features that are accessible without the need for special adaptations. It also provides product design and R&D engineering consultancy services to other companies, both nationally and internationally.
The company had been based at their home in Chesterfield before moving to the Innovation Centre. This allows small businesses to incubate new ideas, increase their growth and develop new products. A workshop facility also offers support for design prototyping and materials analysis and testing, with a focus on sustainability.
Managing Director of Kakou, Ann Fomukong-Boden (pictured), said:-
“As a business we believe in collaboration, so were impressed by the opportunities the Innovation Centre provides to be part of a like-minded community and are excited to see who will move in next. We are delighted with the support provided by the Centre and by commercial manager Laura Williams. She advised us on the funding and networking opportunities available to us, which have really helped our business move to the next level.
“Our aim at Kakou is to be more efficient, low-energy and sustainable, using recyclable materials wherever possible. We have been able to link in with research teams from the University’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering to investigate the environmental impact of our products and look into working with new materials.”
The Innovation Centre is part of the University of Derby’s wider commitment to working with businesses, sharing expertise with innovation and sustainability in mind.
It is one of three tailored business support hubs which match small businesses with opportunities to access space, expertise, advice, funding, facilities and talent to help them grow. New businesses can pay stepped rental charges and get a range of business support services to set them on their way.
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