Duke of Edinburgh officially opens My Incubator

10 -10-12 - HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the My Incubator business start up facility today at the Business & Technology Centre (btc) and met local entrepreneurs and students.The Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a tour of the btc, Hertfordshire’s primary enterprise and innovation centre, which provides flexible facilities and business support to regional businesses. The Duke heard how the partnership between Stevenage Borough Council, which owns the btc, and Wenta, which manages the centre on its behalf, has played a significant role in developing new innovative businesses in Stevenage.

Over 50 businesses have launched with the help of My Incubator and more than 20 are currently being supported at the btc.

Local entrepreneurs shared their stories of starting up and prospering during the recession including: WallJam – an innovative sports and fitness company showcasing its unique rebound wall; Hylozo Technology - a mechanical engineering company demonstrating a prototype robot actuator and Charity Checkout – a charity donation system developed from a competition for budding entrepreneurs.

The Duke also visited partner exhibits from the University of Hertfordshire, the IET, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, North Hertfordshire College, Astrium and Fortrus.

Students from six local schools demonstrated how the Beacon Events Programme is helping them to develop their project and enterprise management skills.

Among the local business and community leaders welcoming the Duke were John Wood, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire County Council; Cllr John Lloyd, Mayor of Stevenage; Cllr Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council and Chris Pichon, Chief Executive of Wenta.

Greg Thomas, Innovation Manager at Wenta, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh was interested to hear how My Incubator at the btc has played a major role in boosting the start up rate of SME's in Stevenage. We explained how we have helped over fifty businesses get started in the past year and are currently supporting more than twenty entrepreneurs within My Incubator at the btc.”

Chris Pichon said: “We were absolutely thrilled to be part of this historic visit and to show the Duke of Edinburgh some of the many innovative activities and new technologies from Stevenage businesses and organisations.”

Please visit our btc website for more images and video.

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