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The Duke of York is shown a whole world of new possibilities as he opens Future Space

Big day for the UWE Enterprise Zone as Prince Andrew officially opens Future Space and holds the final leg of the Pitch@Palace tour.

August 1, 2017

The Duke of York officially opened the new Future Space facility – UWE’s landmark science business incubation centre – during the visit, as well as hearing pitches on the theme The Future of Mobility and Materials during the visit to the university’s Frenchay Campus. And later in the day, entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a royal audience when the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) hosted Pitch@Palace On Tour.

Prince Andrew spoke to an assembled crowd of local business leaders as he officially opened the state-of-the-art innovation facility for innovative start-ups and SMEs, which has opened as part of a new £16 million University Enterprise Zone.

A unique destination for science and technology companies, Future Space has been designed to spark growth and innovation by connecting entrepreneurs and innovators with scientists, researchers and graduate talent.

His Royal Highness said:

“So much of what I see when I travel around the country is people trying to do what they can in order to encourage innovation and encourage people to come out of the university sector or from any sector of the education environment in order to use their intellectual property and their intellectual skills, in order to start businesses, build businesses and then try to find ways to add value.

“Future Space is clearly one of those leading edge organisations that is going to be able to add value to so many people coming through this part of the world. Particularly when you think of how important robotics is going to be in the future.”

The Duke also received a tour of the adjacent Bristol Robotics Laboratory, the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. During his visit he met Silas Adekunle, founder of Reach Robotics, as well as coming face-to-face with Silas' incredible robot spider invention, a gaming bot called MekaMon.

“Future Space is clearly one of those leading edge organisations that is going to be able to add value to so many people coming through this part of the world. Particularly when you think of how important robotics is going to be in the future.”

The Duke also received a tour of the adjacent Bristol Robotics Laboratory, the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. During his visit he met Silas Adekunle, founder of Reach Robotics, as well as coming face-to-face with Silas' incredible robot spider invention, a gaming bot called MekaMon.

“I am particularly pleased to see start-ups which began life as innovative UWE Bristol student projects among the businesses shortlisted to pitch their ideas on the day."

Pitch@Palace is aimed at helping the next generation of early-stage companies and entrepreneurs by giving them the opportunity to meet people who can make their business dreams become a reality. The scheme provides entrepreneurs with long-term support and connects them with potential backers including CEOs, influencers, angels, mentors and business partners.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, said: “We are delighted to be hosting Pitch@Palace. It is a highly-successful initiative keenly focused on the benefits offered by effective collaboration and innovation, a focus very much shared by our university.

“I am particularly pleased to see start-ups which began life as innovative UWE Bristol student projects among the businesses shortlisted to pitch their ideas on the day.

“It is a great honour to welcome The Duke of York to formally open Future Space, a hub for innovation which has exceeded all our expectations and is now home to a host of small enterprises benefiting from a unique environment at the cross-section of academia and industry.”

Entrepreneurs who impress judges at the regional events will progress to Pitch@Palace Boot Camp, where 42 participants will compete for an opportunity to pitch their ideas to an influential audience of business leaders and investors at St James’s Palace later this year.

The theme for the latest series of Pitch@Palace events is aimed at exploring technology that impacts the future evolution of mobility and autonomous systems and the critical materials that are essential for the functioning of high-tech products.

Since it was launched in 2014, Pitch@Palace has supported more than 400 companies, helped create 870 new jobs and stimulated more than £300 million in new economic activity.

The Duke of York said:

“I am delighted to be able to bring Pitch@Palace On Tour to Bristol. Pitch@Palace is designed to support, enhance and add value to start up and scale up companies by providing a platform for entrepreneurs and audiences to meet, network and hear the great ideas that are being commercialised and built by the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Duke of York meeting with Future Space customer Silas Adekunle, Co-founder of Reach Robotics

Duke of York meeting with Future Space customer Silas Adekunle, Co-founder of Reach Robotics

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