A MULTI-MILLION pound science, technology and creative business centre is preparing to launch next week.

The purpose built Innovation Centre is based at the University of Essex's Knowledge Gateway and will officially open its doors for the first time on Monday.

An expert team of staff has been brought in to run the £12 million centre, which will be managed by Oxford Innovation and could eventually help 50 start-up firms get off the ground.

Jo Stevens, managing director of Oxford Innovation, said: "We are thrilled to have put together an expert team to manage the centre and help propel innovation in the region.

"We are committed to supporting the next generation of business leaders to reach their potential, creating jobs and boosting the economy in the process.

"Being part of the Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway is a further demonstration of our ambition.”

READ MORE: Essex University given £2 million boost for Innovation Centre

The experienced team will be working with the university’s research and enterprise office and Studio X, home to the university’s digital creative studio and student start-up programme, to engage with students who are thinking of going into business.

Dan Smart, centre director, said: "The Innovation centre will help to retain and attract business to Colchester and the eastern region and offer them a new and exciting place to work and collaborate.

“Partnering with the University of Essex and being based on the Knowledge Gateway offers exciting collaboration opportunities for companies who, by utilising the knowledge, skills and equipment of the university as well as our in house innovation director, could gain valuable support and resource in developing their business.

“Having this resource in the growth stages of any business could be key to those innovative companies looking for their next steps."

He added: "The collaboration with like-minded businesses and the wealth of knowledge on our door step will lead to the Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway being the region’s go-to for innovative companies.”

READ MORE: Oxford Innovation to run Essex University's new £12m business centre

The Innovation Centre has been supported by £2m funding from Essex County Council and £2m from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.

Visit www.innovationcentre-kg.co.uk.