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New MD for Oxford Innovation

The UK’s leading operator of innovation centres, Oxford Innovation, announces Jo Willett as its new Managing Director in the same month as celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary. 

October 2, 2017

The UK’s leading operator of innovation centres, Oxford Innovation, announces Jo Willett as its new Managing Director in the same month as celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary.

Formerly Business Development Director, Willett first joined Oxford Innovation in 2000 and has seen the company grow from 30 employees to a team of nearly 130. During this period, Oxford Innovation has also merged with SQW Group to form a business focussed on the encouragement of enterprise and place-making.

Willett takes up the helm from Chris Allington, who retired earlier this year and has been tasked with building an even stronger network of centres to create thriving economies across the UK with dynamic communities of entrepreneurs benefitting from Oxford Innovation’s support.

The company currently has 24 centres in all countries of the UK following the recent opening of an innovation centre in Belfast.

Jo Willett, Managing Director, Oxford Innovation said: “We have developed a niche in making buildings work by helping to attract and support communities of SMEs. Our expertise is complemented by great business coaching services, clients with ambition to make places work and established relationships with investors. My role as MD will be to ensure Oxford Innovation stays true to its roots whilst continuing to grow as we look to open more innovation centres in the years ahead.”

Oxford Innovation has helped over 10,000 SMEs to become sustainable businesses since renowned entrepreneurs, Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood, founded the company in 1987 as a subsidiary to The Oxford Trust. The company became part of SQW Group in 2007.

David Crichton-Miller, CEO, SQW Group, said: 

“With extensive knowledge and experience of designing and operating innovation centres, combined with her understanding of incubation and scale-ups, Jo is the perfect person to drive Oxford Innovation forward whilst safeguarding its heritage. Jo understands exactly what it takes to make property work for building owners, for the businesses within each centre and for local economic success".

During Willett’s time at Oxford Innovation, she has played an instrumental role in opening more than 25 new innovation centres and has worked on many feasibility studies for new centres. She is also an expert in the field of innovation centre design and a recognised speaker at international conferences on incubation best practices.

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