Issue date: 17 July 2001

The University of the West of England has announced that it has been offered £0.5m funding from the SouthWest Regional Development Agency to create a business incubation unit focussing on digital media and eCommerce in the centre of Bristol. The business incubator will become an integral part of the SouthWest Incubation Network being created by the Regional Development Agency. It will interact with industry and academia within the Bristol region and will contribute to the economic growth of the sectors.

The new incubator unit, likely to be called the ‘Bristol eMedia incubator’* will be in premises adjacent to the Watershed Media Centre in the heart of Bristol and is planning to open for business in January 2002.

Linda Skinner, Director of the Centre for Research, Innovation and Industry (CRII) at UWE and the project leader, said, ”The incubator is an exciting development and meets the University’s strategy of developing its enterprise activity. The main objectives for the unit are to support new enterprise opportunities in digital media and eCommerce in Bristol and its immediate region”.

Other major supporters include Aardman Animations Ltd, Burges Salmon, Bristol City Council, Arthur Andersen, Trumps Lawrence Tucketts, Business Link West, Hewlet Packard Laboratories and GWR.

The incubator will provide space for up to 50 people to be involved in starting up their own business in managed office accommodation equipped to an excellent standard for media business work. A major benefit will be the provision of ‘ideas space’ alongside a ‘specialist media centre’ enabling easy interaction with local industry. Experienced professionals and business people will provide mentoring and networking.

The city is already home to a wide range of creative organisations, including TV and radio broadcasters, film and video production companies, arts centres, animators, computer games designers and website builders. It also has access to a well-trained and enterprising creative workforce.

Paul Gough, Dean of UWE’s Faculty of Art, Media and Design which has almost 1000 students, said, “Many of our students are on courses such as digital media, graphic design and animation. Together with graduates from our computing courses, they will be excellent at generating new business for the region”.

Project Leader, Linda Skinner, said, “We have already had enquiries for space in the unit and we have developed a close working relationship with the Watershed Media Centre via its Managing Director, Dick Penny. UWE’s plans dovetail with the Watershed’s future plans to emphasise the development of lifelong learning and digital media skills.”

The eMedia incubator will be marketed in September but enquiries for space in the meantime should be directed to the following people:

Colin Gratton, Business Adviser, CRII*, UWE
Tel: 0117 344 2808, Fax: 0117 344 2688, Email:

General enquiries to Linda Skinner, Director, CRII*, UWE
Tel: 0117 344 2808, Fax: 0117 344 2688, Email:

*Centre for Research Innovation and Industry
University of the West of England
DuPont Bristol Centre
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol BS16 1QD


Editors notes:

 ‘Bristol eMedia incubator’ is the working title for the project.

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