Government-backed Digital Catapult Centre gears up for launch

Centre intends to “accelerate” UK’s digital economy by supporting nation’s top digital ideas

The Digital Catapult Centre, a government-backed national centre with the goal to “rapidly advance” the UK’s best digital ideas, is to open its doors on November 5.

Formed as part of the Innovate UK-funded Connected Digital Economy Catapult, the new centre intends to drive economic growth of the UK’s digital economy by “fostering collaboration between the greatest academic and business minds in digital”.

Based at London’s Kings Cross, the centre will provide entrepreneurs, small and medium firms, and corporates with premises to meet and work on digital projects, and will offer access to collaboration solutions, innovation labs, and development spaces.

It will also house a programme of events and workshops alongside “intensive two-week pit stops” – sessions offering multi-level expertise to help businesses “accelerate development” of their product or service.

The centre’s main goal will be to address the challenges posed by data and the Internet of Things such as creating trust in personal data use and helping small data firms build diverse data and content sets.

Government has big plans for the Digital Catapult; it claims that by 2018 the centre will have impacted 10,000 UK companies, generating £365m of linked economic value.

The centre launch will be followed by a series of launch events with a wave of regional hubs set to open across the country.

Connected Digital Economy Catapult CEO, Neil Crockett, discussed the aims of the Digital Catapult Centre:

“When trying to address major challenges, for example the Internet of Things in healthcare, businesses reach a point where they need help to cross some ‘chasms’ on the way to bringing their products or services to market.

“It’s at this point the Digital Catapult Centre will play a part. The UK is full of Universities and Clusters where people think of great ideas and are given support. We want to complement that. We’ll bring people together in collaborative development projects to unlock four challenges in the data value chain in order to accelerate digital innovators to market.”

Andy Green, Connected Digital Economy Catapult chairman, added: “The centre has been designed with creativity and technology at its heart. That doesn’t mean a room with a pink slide – the fusion of creativity, technology and design is what will allow the UK to unlock the potential of digital.”

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