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Oxford Innovation

Innovation Director

  • Bristol, South West

  • c. £50,000 per annum DOE

  • Permanent

Future Space is an Innovation at the heart of the University of West of England’s Enterprise Zone (UEZ). The Innovation Centre is home to a dynamic community of SMEs, drawn from the local area and region, and made up of tech and life science high growth companies of various age and size. Future Space (FS) is operated by Oxford Innovation (OI), on behalf of the University of the West of England (UWE).

We are seeking an innovative and strategic thinker with strong relationship building skills for the role of Innovation Director. The Innovation Director will provide pragmatic, high quality strategic business coaching and innovation support to businesses based in the centre, with the objective of enabling business growth, innovation development and commercial success, drawing on the University’s expertise and research strengths. The post holder will work for part of their time with and for the UWE’s Research, Business and Innovation department with the aim of linking the university’s core business offer and research expertise to the businesses within FutureSpace.

About the role

Key Responsibilities:


Contract Business Support Management

  • Accountable for the management and delivery of all Business Support Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as defined by the agreement between UWE and
  • Ensure delivery of the business support service is within contractual budgets as defined by the contract and/or OI budget. Track, monitor and report on this regularly, as required.
  • Attend regular client /team review meetings and provide written reports regarding activity, progress against KPIs and performance outputs as required by UWE and OI.
  • Work with UWEs Research Business and Innovation team on ongoing initiatives and on designing and implementing new initiatives and projects which benefit the SME’s.
  • Work closely with key UWE representatives and academics to maximize the opportunity for collaborative engagement between the centre’s business customers and the University.
  • In addition to driving one to one collaborations, actively seek to develop a high quality centre business support programme that places Future Space in the centre of SME Tech activity in the region.
  • Actively support UWEs innovation and enterprise agenda and work in partnership with other business support delivered within the UEZ on collaborartive projects where appropriate.
  • Develop long term relationships with this support ecosystem keeping them informed and engaged in the Centre development strategy, referring businesses to their schemes when applicable and of value to the pro business aims of the project.
  • Ensure accurate recording of data relating to the Business Support activity and outputs in OIs Centre Management System (Vision) at least monthly


Business Growth & Innovation Services Delivery

  • Deliver on all OI set targets based around activity, resource productivity, service quality and profile. Report monthly to the Managing Director with progress and any possible new development opportunities.
  • Provide business coaching, strategic support and specialist consultancy directly to OIs business customers in order to support their business innovation development and performance growth.
  • Develop case studies and testimonials whenever possible for OI and the centre’s marketing material and campaigns.
  • Ensure an on-going focus on the continuous development of our business support and coaching tools to ensure the Business Support Service adds value to the centre and enhances its brand.
  • Develop a network of business specialists, support associates and third-party support providers to assist in the delivery of this high quality, pragmatic Business Support Service to Centre customers and users. Taking direction from the Managing Director on associate recruitment methods and remuneration rate.


 Business Support Team Performance

  • Provide regular reports to the Managing Director on progress against core contract accountabilities, customer support activities and outputs, local operational capability and efficiency, event plans and any other issues as required.
  • Attend OI Business Support team meetings; give and accept peer support and provide development suggestions.
  • Play an active role in developing and delivering any new initiatives that can positively impact on the performance of the business and its contracts. Review effectiveness of programmes; delivering new proposals for programme initiatives or improvements to existing programmes for increased effectiveness


Centre & Other OI Team Performance

  • Work with the Centre team to ensure that the business support activities and outputs actively contribute to the successful delivery of their targets and KPIs (revenue streams, occupancy, licence fees, cash collection, cost management etc.)
  • Work in conjunction with the Centre Director to design a programme of relevant sector, training and networking events to deliver on OI’s performance targets. Take the lead on overall programme management whilst delegating specific project management and delivery responsibilities amongst the Centre team and the external support network.
  • Line manage the Innovation Manager providing coaching and direction when required.


For a full job description, click Apply!

What we're looking for

The successful candidate will have a proven track record in business; either working at senior director level within large corporates or as a small business owner themselves. Ideally, they will have a background in tech and life science sector businesses.

Whilst direct experience of providing quality business coaching to early stage businesses is favourable, we would consider candidates with the inherent skills and aptitude to develop this capability within the role. However, crucial to being successful in this role will be the candidates’ ability to build relevant business, investment, and innovation networks for the centre, and to proactively drive the benefits of collaborative working; either between businesses or with the University. More specifically, the Innovation Director will be responsible for delivering on a number of targets relating to business growth and development and innovation activity. The Innovation Director is supported by an Innovation Manager who is a direct report.


Essential experience

  • Degree level standard of education or a recognised professional business qualification
  • An understanding of the business support landscape and the needs of SMEs
  • Credibility and ability to influence at owner/manager or senior director levels
  • A proven track record in business leadership, either working at senior director level within large corporates or as a small business owner
  • A successful track record of achievement in enterprise and innovation development
  • Previous experience of delivering business management and development either as a consultant or business coach to early stage businesses or relevant experience within such a business
  • Negotiation of commercial partnerships
  • A track record in budgeting, forecasting and the management of financial and other resources


Desirable experience

  • Operating/Managing business support or incubation programmes
  • Strong contact base in the local market
  • Providing business coaching
  • A background in tech and/or life sciences
  • Project management skills
  • A knowledge of funding landscape for SMEs would be beneficial
  • Knowledge and experience in a higher education establishment


Personal Competencies

  • Data and ROI driven, with a strong understanding of contract delivery KPIs and ability to provide and interpret information in management reports
  • Strategic thinker with strong business acumen and a detailed knowledge of the key functions within a business particularly sales & marketing, financial management and operations.
  • Ability to use own initiative and to be able to identify quickly and effectively how problems can be solved
  • Strong networking and relationship building skills with a personal network beneficial to the business support needs of the role
  • A passion for innovation and solving problems
  • Excellent communication and organisational skills
  • Strong analytical and writing capabilities
  • A strong team member who can engage well across the whole Future Space and University Enterprise Zone team.


Salary and benefits

  • Salary of c£50,000 pa depending on experience
  • Discretionary bonus scheme
  • 25 days’ holiday plus Bank Holidays
  • Flexible benefits package comprising:
    • Contributory pension
    • Ability to increase or decrease amount of annual leave
    • Ability to increase or decrease amount of life assurance cover
    • Private medical and dental insurance
    • Bicycle purchase
    • Charitable Giving


We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all backgrounds.