This week we opened our doors to Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, who is currently embarking on a tour of key transformational projects across the region. Hope Street Xchange were thrilled to welcome him to showcase our vibrant and creative space for new emerging enterprises, small businesses and the region’s first FabLab.
Hope Street Xchange was developed by the University of Sunderland with £4.9m investment support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP’s) Local Growth Fund and £2.23 million from the European Regional Development Fund. We link the University to the region’s small business community by supporting fledgling start-ups and offering space for existing businesses to develop and grow.
Mr Berry said: “The Northern Powerhouse is about economic growth and creating jobs. When I visited the Hope Street Xchange this morning, I saw the University of Sunderland’s commitment to fostering strong links with local businesses and helping their graduates launch their own start ups.
“This is an excellent example of businesses and a university working together to unlock the economic potential of the region.”
Shirley Atkinson, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, introduced the Minister to a number of tenants, including students and recent graduates who work in our business hatchery The Enterprise Place.
Shirley Atkinson commented: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Northern Powerhouse Minister to our University today and give him a tour of Hope Street Xchange, our centre for enterprise and innovation. The focus of this building really demonstrates how, through our place-shaping work, we are supporting the makers and inventors of the North East to succeed and prosper. I’m sure he grasped our enthusiasm, the gathering pace of change and the ambitions we have for our graduates, our partners, the city, the region and the North.”
Hope Street Xchange was initiated by Sunderland Business Group, which aims to support entrepreneurship and increase the number of business start-ups with support from the North East LEP.
Chair of the North East LEP Andrew Hodgson commented: “Hope Street Xchange is a project that embodies what we are trying to achieve in our Strategic Economic Plan. Supporting small businesses with the space and skills they need to scaleup is critical to the Plan’s success.
”The LEP contributed £4.9m to the Xchange from the Local Growth Fund, which supports projects that will improve skills, innovation, infrastructure and transport in the North East. Investing in these areas contributes towards the ambition set out in our Strategic Economic Plan to create 100,000 more and better jobs in the North East by 2024.
“Mr Berry’s visit was another opportunity for us to emphasise the commitment in the North East to being a key contributor to the Northern Powerhouse and rebalancing the UK economy.”