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Maritime firms anchor at Innovation Centre

A thriving innovation centre for businesses in Southampton is helping drive growth in the UK’s £13.5 billion maritime sector.

Ocean Village Innovation Centre (OVIC), home to nearly 40 companies, has a record number of occupiers involved in the industry, which supports more than 110,000 jobs.

 WATER TECHNOLOGY:  Nick Elderfield, Managing Director of DHI UK, which operates out of Ocean Village Innovation Centre, Southampton. The firm, part of the global Danish-owned DHI Group, which specialises in water technology solutions, is one of 10 maritime businesses at the thriving serviced offices hub.

WATER TECHNOLOGY: Nick Elderfield, Managing Director of DHI UK, which operates out of Ocean Village Innovation Centre, Southampton. The firm, part of the global Danish-owned DHI Group, which specialises in water technology solutions, is one of 10 maritime businesses at the thriving serviced offices hub.

Rob Greenberg, the centre manager, said: “Of the 30 firms here, one-third of them are involved in maritime work, from ocean satellite mapping and placement of high-quality crews on vessels to cutting-edge communication technology and cargo logistics.

“What we are seeing taking place under the OVIC roof is local companies driving growth in their specialist fields, with great progress in innovation, technology, research and development.

“Britain is widely recognised as a global leader in maritime business services, with the city port and the world-renowned National Oceanography Centre on our doorstep as a visual reminder of these strong maritime links.

“The Southampton Boat Show in September, and June’s Seawork International, Europe’s largest commercial marine and workboat exhibition, are other good reasons why maritime firms have moored at OVIC.

“We’re also seeing our occupiers increasingly doing business with one another, generating inward investment and employment and strengthening our centre’s intra-trading ecosystem.

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BUSINESS SUPPORT: Ocean Village Innovation Centre in Southampton.

Maritime companies on site include DHI UK, which is involved in a project, in partnership with DigitalGlobe and Proteus GEO and funded by the European Space Agency, to measure the underwater terrain of the world’s shallow seas.

Other sectors which are forging ahead on site are recruitment and training, as well as legal, finance, marketing, domiciliary care and marketing.

Rob said: “OVIC is in many respects a microcosm of Britain’s small-to-medium enterprises, of which there are 5.4 million in the UK, representing more than 99% of all businesses.

“They are led by entrepreneurs with a can-do attitude, with innovation at the heart of what they do and typifying why the UK is in the top three in the world index for innovation.”

OVIC, which has 70 serviced offices and is operated by Oxford Innovation, Britain’s leading operator of innovation centres for start-ups and early-stage firms, has just 40 workstations available.

According to official figures, the UK maritime sector directly contributes around £13.5 billion to national output, otherwise known as GDP, and supports more than 110,000 jobs.