Yorkshire launches 'Silicon Valley'

Yorkshire is aiming to develop a new "Silicon Valley" as part of a development of old mill areas.

The £3 million technology centre at Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, aims to create a centre of excellence for the development of technology businesses in the region, including those in the "environmental technology" sector.

The Globe Innovation Centre will be sited within Globe Mills in the Colne Valley. Globe Mills is a 150,000 square foot, multi-storey, former textile factory which itself is part of a multi-million regeneration project.

The project is the result of a joint venture between investment and property business, the Hartley Group, which itself branched out of the declining textiles industry in the region; diversified technology company 3M; the University of Huddersfield; and Kirklees Council.

The four shareholders signed a joint-venture agreement on site this week to mark the first stage of the redevelopment which is scheduled for completion in 2013.

The region is already established as a "hot spot" for sustainable technology, said the partners, with 45 sustainable technology businesses operating within a 15 mile radius of Globe Mills. They said the Globe Innovation Centre will grow the local sector by 50 percent, with Hartley Group and 3M acting as "angel investors" for promising businesses in the technology sector as a whole, including environmental technology.

When the first phase of the development is completed tenants will be able to access a range of flexible research and business support services.

Stefan Gabriel, president of 3M New Ventures, said: "By giving tenants the practical tools and support to successfully develop and commercialise their products, we hope to both be able to contribute to their growth in this vital area while building a pipeline to continue to strengthen 3M’s diverse portfolio."

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