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Oxford Innovation promoted to Fast Track 100

Oxford Innovation Ltd, the UK market leader in the provision of services to innovative start-up companies, has been listed in this years Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table of Britains fastest growing, unquoted companies published in todays Sunday Times.

Oxford Innovation Ltd, the UK market leader in the provision of services to innovative start-up companies, has been listed in this years Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table of Britains fastest growing, unquoted companies published in todays Sunday Times. Oxford Innovation runs 12 innovation centres, used by over 250 entrepreneurial businesses, and manages three technology investment networks, including the european leader - Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (http://www.oion.co.uk) that has helped more than 40 companies raise over £12 m during the last three years. Oxford Innovations sales have grown 64% a year, from £898,000 in 1999 to £3.9m in 2002, and it enters the Fast Track chart at number 98. Dr David Kingham, Chief Executive of Oxford Innovation, said: I am delighted that Oxford Innovation has been selected for Fast Track 100. As a fast growing company, we have faced the same challenges as the entrepreneurs we assist - raising finance, marketing, finding flexible premises, recruiting staff - so we understand how to help them. We recognise that successful entrepreneurs harness the resources they need to drive their businesses forward so we do not force them through a business improvement process. Instead, we offer a range of practical services, from help with grant applications to virtual offices and marketing, and let them make the choices. Oxford Innovations formula for business support certainly seems to work. Research shows that start-up businesses using their innovation centres have a much higher chance of success - a survival rate of 89% over the crucial first two years, which is substantially better than the UK average of 33% over five years. Dr Kingham said: The 89% survival rate is a ringing endorsement of our private sector approach to business incubation and reflects great credit on our dedicated staff. We believe that the combination of professional premises, access to finance and targeted business support services is a valuable one, which gives todays innovative start-ups a greater chance of becoming tomorrows major employers. It also helps for them to be part of a community of entrepreneurs.,Success stories of companies using Oxford Innovations premises and services include: Mirada Solutions Ltd, is an Oxford University spin-out whose medical imaging products enable better diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and heart disease. Mirada entered Oxford Centre for Innovation in 1998 and was recently sold to US Group CTI for £14m. Employee numbers have jumped from 2 to over 50 in that time. Hardide Ltd, produces a super-hard coating to prolong the life of steel and cemented carbide parts and tools. It has widespread applications in the oil and gas industries, as well as in metalworking and car component businesses. Hardides CEO, Jim Murray-Smith, credits Oxford Innovation with playing a vital role in the companys development. Hardide developed its technology in Begbroke Innovation Centre, on the University of Oxfords Science Park, where flexible offices allowed the company to grow without the worry of a long-term lease commitment. Hardide also raised £300,000 through Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network crucial finance which enabled the company to develop to the stage where it attracted a £1.6m investment in Summer 2003. Hardide has now commenced manufacturing operations in a purpose-built plant, where it will sell its technology into the £7 billion UK surface engineering market and then into the boarder international marketplace. MindWeavers Ltd, an Oxford University spin-out in Oxford Centre for Innovation, has recently launched the first version of its educational software (Phonomena), which dramatically improves childrens literacy skills. Trials featured in the New Scientist showed that school children who used Phonomena over four weeks saw their word listening skill ages shoot up by 2.4 years. Oxford Innovation helped MindWeavers get started by seconding someone to work on their initial business plan and securing grant funding from the DTI and Europe. Recently, an Oxford Innovation staff member has helped MindWeavers to secure a substantial grant, to develop its software for speakers of English as an additional language, while another staff member helped the company get key national publicity. Im-Pak Technologies Ltd. In Summer 2003 Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network helped Im-Pak Technologies to raise £450,000 to further develop and license its new high speed injection moulding process that could transform the manufacture of plastic packaging. The process uses a slam-shut mechanism to produce plastic packaging for margarine tubs, ice cream buckets, yoghurt pots, vending cups and bottles cutting production times by 50% and creating plastic containers that are up to 35% lighter than existing products. Managing Director, Richard Vessey, praised the role played by Oxfords business angel investors: The fund raising process was fast and efficient because of the help we received from Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network. We presented our business proposal at an OION investment meeting, and demonstrated our slam-shut process on a cup mould to interested investors. I was delighted when fundraising was completed within 14 days of the OION presentation. There is a huge potential market for Im-Paks process technology. One major multinational food producer buys $1.3 billion of thin wall rigid packaging, most or all of which can be made more economically using the Im-Pak process. Following production trials of the new technology, savings of $250 million pa have been projected by this producer alone. PHOTO AVAILABLE ON REQUEST: Dr David Kingham, Chief Executive of Oxford Innovation, at Oxford Centre for Innovation, part of a network of 12 innovation centres used by over 250 entrepreneurial companies. ,NOTES FOR EDITORS 1. OXFORD INNOVATION LTD,Press enquiries to: Dr David Kingham, Chief Executive.,Tel: +44 (0)1865 811127 mobile: +44 (0)7768 933001,E-mail: d.kingham@oxin.co.uk http://www.oxin.co.uk Oxford Innovation Ltd provides services to innovative start-up companies, and to government bodies that promote enterprise. It is the UK's leading operator of Innovation Centres, managing 12 Innovation Centres that provide flexible office and laboratory space to over 250 technology, knowledge-based and creative companies. Unilever has recently selected Oxford Innovation to help develop its key Colworth R&D Centre, which has an international reputation for food science and the biosciences, as a major science park and innovation centre with state of the art laboratory facilities. Oxford Innovation also runs Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION), Europe's most successful technology business angel network that links investors with entrepreneurs seeking early stage funding. During the last three years, over £12m has been raised through OION for more than 40 innovative ventures. http://www.oion.co.uk In 2003, Oxford Innovation launched two new angel networks based on the OION model and working with local partners. Thames Valley Investment Network (www.tvin.co.uk) and Solent Investment Opportunity Network (SION, www.solenthub.co.uk) hold monthly presentation meetings where selected entrepreneurs present their business proposals to investor members. In July SION's investor membership doubled following the decision of Angels 5K, the Southampton-based network with 32 members to join SION. Three Enterprise Hubs, supported by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), are based at Oxford Innovation's innovation centres. North Oxfordshire Enterprise Hub at Begbroke is home to a cluster of companies in opto-electronics and advanced materials while the Southern Oxfordshire Enterprise Hub includes companies based at Harwell and Culham Innovation Centres. Solent Enterprise Hub is based at Portsmouth Technopole, a spectacular new Innovation Centre at the entrance to the City of Portsmouth. It serves companies and entrepreneurs in Fareham, Gosport and Havant as well as Portsmouth. 2. MIRADA SOLUTIONS LTD ,Press enquiries to: Tel: +44 (0)1865 265500 ,http://www.mirada-solutions.com 3. HARDIDE LTD,Press enquiries to: Jim Murray-Smith, Chief Executive. ,Tel: +44 (0)1869 353830 Mobile: +44 (0)7973 864360,E-mail: jmurray-smith@hardide.com http://www.hardide.com 4. MINDWEAVERS LTD,Press enquiries to: Bruce Robinson, Chief Executive.,Tel: +44 (0)1865 811123 Mobile: +44 (0)7710 784248 ,E-mail: bruce@mindweavers.co.uk http://www.mindweavers.co.uk 5. IM-PAK TECHNOLOGIES LTD,Press enquiries to: Richard Vessey, Chief Executive. ,Tel: +44 (0)1202 880609 Mobile: +44 (0) 7960 035976 ,E-mail: rvessey@im-pak.com

Keywords

Incubation

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United Kingdom