Conveniently situated between the Cambridge science parks and the ICT/Digital research community at Adastral Park, near Ipswich, the Stowmarket Innovation Labs have rapidly become a centre for entrepreneurs interested in applied AI, gamification, virtual and augmented reality.
As co-founder, Peter Brady from Orbital Media puts it: "In essence we are a co-working space, but the real value comes from the conversations and collaborations that our ecosystem nurtures. We set out to develop a culture that would help start-ups and SMEs avoid many of the common business pitfalls and so accelerate their development.
“Our approach is to encourage companies to establish a robust innovation process that helps them learn from failure. Mistakes are important but also expensive if you don’t use them as a catalyst to push new technology and ideas. Our co-founders draw on their experience as serial entrepreneurs to mentor ambitious young companies with growth potential and help them find suitable partners and investors.”
The Innovation Labs ecosystem now includes a number of support businesses, such as usability experts, graphic designers, coders and other industry specialists. As a result, there are now strong social channels that enable members (virtual and physical) to ask questions, share ideas and build powerful networks. This mutually supportive community of innovators and businesspeople makes the space more attractive than traditional enterprise centres.
Peter explains: “We are keen on working with companies that have identified societal issues, particularly those affecting the public sector, and are developing possible solutions. We look for ways to bring those ideas to life and enable industry to engage with different levels of government, from local to national. In particular, we help innovators to identify funding sources, such as UKRI grants and competitions, as well as angel investors, and complete bid applications and pitches, so improving their chance of success.”