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Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre to get state-of-the-art 3D printers after celebrating first anniversary

PUBLISHED: 14:01 19 October 2017

The Atrium building at the Ipswich waterfront Innovation centre. Picture: SIMON PARKER

The Atrium building at the Ipswich waterfront Innovation centre. Picture: SIMON PARKER

A £5.5 million centre to encourage business growth, start-ups and innovative projects has celebrated its first anniversary – hosting dozens of events and sowing the seeds of new projects.

The launch of the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC) The launch of the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC)

The Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC) was launched in the University of Suffolk’s revamped Atrium building in October last year, as a collaborative scheme between the university, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Ipswich Borough and Suffolk County councils and businesses.

The centre aims to encourage businesses to come together to launch innovative new projects, help people including students and graduates launch their own businesses, and encourage arts and tech businesses to collaborate.

Members can take advantage of desk space at the building and use its facilities, which will soon include top-of-the-line 3D printers.

The IWIC chairman of the steering group Kevin Woollard at the cake cutting in celebration of the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre's first birthday. Picture: SIMON LEE The IWIC chairman of the steering group Kevin Woollard at the cake cutting in celebration of the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre's first birthday. Picture: SIMON LEE

Last week, a special celebration event was held to recognise the successful first year featuring some of the centre’s success stories, and look ahead to the centre’s next 12 months.

Stef Thorne, head of research and enterprise services at IWIC said: “The members we have and the case studies there are a diverse community that’s growing, and there are other sectors they are interested in.

“Hearing them today and how much support the IWIC has given them – it’s inspirational to me to hear what they have done, it’s quite exciting.”

The IWIC (Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre) celebrates its first anniversary. Pictured is Stef Thorne. Picture: GREGG BROWN The IWIC (Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre) celebrates its first anniversary. Pictured is Stef Thorne. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The centre has held more than 50 engagement events reaching more than 3,200 people, but says its work is unique to Ipswich and Suffolk.

Among the other areas of work are helping businesses come together for projects and helping academics from the university tie-up with projects.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the IWIC is investing in industry standard 3D printers which it is encouraging people to come forward and use, and aims to continue recruiting new members to drive economic growth in the region.

The IWIC (Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre) celebrates its first anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWN The IWIC (Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre) celebrates its first anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Tim Greenacre, registrar and secretary added: “It is already quite heart-warming – we set out some rough targets and we have been able to meet them.

“Now we want the business community to use it as much as possible, and we are expecting the numbers to increase.”

To find out how to get involved visit the website here.

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