Stoke Staffs LEP
University marks official opening of Keele Business School and Smart Innovation Hub
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University marks official opening of Keele Business School and Smart Innovation Hub

The new state-of-the-art building which houses Keele University’s Business School together with a “Smart Innovation Hub” and collaborative workspace has officially opened.

The Denise Coates Foundation Building, a three-storey landmark development at the entrance to the Keele campus, was opened on Friday (24 January 2020) by Denise Coates CBE, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, and Nataliey Bitature, an entrepreneur and Keele Business School alumna who was named as one of Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 in 2018.

The new building’s open layout and unique co-location of teaching and business space enables students, staff and local enterprises to build networks and teamwork effectively, and contribute to the University’s recognised position nationally and internationally for teaching quality, student satisfaction, and graduate employability.

The new Business School – the first to be located on a Science Park – houses Keele’s accounting, business management, economics, finance, human resource management, international business, management and marketing students. Facilities include a 208-seat lecture theatre, a ‘think lab’ study space, data laboratory, cafe and a business lounge, providing a purpose-built meeting space for students and businesses alike.

The school also has a Bloomberg Financial Market Trading Suite which utilises the Bloomberg platform used by leading global investment banks across the world, providing a state-of-the-art teaching and research resource for students, staff and researchers.

Keele’s Business Studies and Finance courses were ranked in the Top 10 for overall student satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Survey. The School was also ranked 3rd overall in the UK’s 2019 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, cementing the University’s commitment and dedication to its students.

The new building also houses both the Smart Innovation Hub, a project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and Innovation Centre 6 – providing 7,500ft2 of modern workspace, multiple support programmes for innovation-led businesses and significant opportunities for students and staff to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and business owners, allowing all parties to build invaluable networks and share knowledge and best practice.

Speaking about the new building, Keele University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Trevor McMillan, said:

This is an exciting time for Keele Business School, offering students the unique opportunity to study alongside pioneering companies, in a state-of-the-art facility that will help strengthen Keele’s sector-leading student experience and provide an innovative learning and teaching environment.

This new landmark on campus provides the space for students and staff to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and business owners, gaining invaluable networks and experience.

I am also delighted to officially welcome the 16 innovative enterprises that have recently moved into this great new building. They have joined a Science and Innovation Park community that is continuing to grow in strength, enabling the University to grow its programme of research, development and innovation support to local businesses.”

Denise Coates CBE, trustee of the Denise Coates Foundation which has contributed £2million towards the new Business School and after which the new building has been named, said:

The Foundation has been a keen supporter of Keele University and its talented students for several years, and I am delighted that we are able to be part of this prestigious project.

Coupled with the bursaries that the Foundation has provided to hundreds of disadvantaged undergraduates from the local area, our commitment to the Business School, the University and its students continues to go from strength to strength.”

Minister for Local Growth, Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said:

We are committed to boosting economic growth across the Midlands Engine and ensuring every community has the support and investment it needs to flourish.

Thanks to £1million of Government support from the Local Growth Fund, the Smart Innovation Hub will provide local businesses and entrepreneurs across Staffordshire with a range of innovative support services to help take their business to the next stage and unlock the full potential of the local economy.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman, Alun Rogers, said:

Keele University Science and Innovation Park is one of the LEP area’s key sites for leading research, development and technological businesses and is highly regarded globally.

Our universities play a vital role in our economy, bringing in investment, creating jobs and strengthening communities. They have played an integral role in formulating our local industrial strategy which will steer our future economic growth plans. We have worked closely with Keele University to create the Smart Innovation Hub and supported it through our allocation of the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

This further demonstrates what can be achieved through successful cross sector partnerships and it is pleasing to see the hub fully operational.”

Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council, who have invested £2.37m in the creation of the new business support and accommodation facilities, added:

We have a highly successful formal working partnership with Keele University which has resulted in the construction of both the Smart Innovation Hub and Innovation Centre Five. The Science and Innovation Park is one of our prime sites for high value research and development businesses which also benefits from Enterprise Zone status, strengthening its reputation as a leading location to invest and for job creation.

It is fantastic to see the hub in operation – providing the county with a high-quality centre for business and will also support the creation of more skilled employment. Our Keele Deal, which includes a range of partners, will help to improve productivity at a local, regional and national level, and play an important part in our continued economic growth.”