ASTEC PROVIDES THE IDEAL ENVIRONMENT FOR AQUACULTURE BUSINESSES TO FLOURISH Published: 27 July, 2011
One of Astecs aqua labs
As the UKs first aquaculture business incubator centre, Astec is set to have a major impact on the growth and sustainability of the UK aquaculture industry, becasue of its unique facilities and a specific focus on developing fledgling enterprises.
The new Astec Aquaculture Business & Science Centre located in Northumberland, North East England, provides an ideal base for aquaculture businesses of all sizes and at varying stages of development, with its unique combination of plug in and go facilities and specialist business support services.
Astec can offer tailored packages of support and technical advice to anyone looking to take their first steps towards commercialising a business idea, as well as to more established aquaculture businesses looking to diversify or relocate. As well as providing a nurturing and supportive environment, the purpose-built Centre has one very distinct offering that will appeal to marine scientists and industry alike a continuous supply of near tropical temperature, flow-through seawater. This enables a wide range of marine plants and animals to be cultivated there, and breeding to continue all year round. This existing infrastructure means tenants can effectively plug in and go, and eliminates the expense and difficulty involved in transporting seawater.
Astecs chief executive, Kevin Haddrick, said: We have a special focus on helping fledgling businesses and spin-out companies who are looking to take the next step towards becoming a commercial operation. We recognise that many people starting out need some help outside their sphere of scientific expertise, so our onsite team can offer help in areas like marketing, finance, networking and business management, helping people to focus on setting up and running their own businesses. Our technical advisory group will also provide guidance on more industry related issues, and act as a valuable knowledge pool for our tenants.
More established businesses looking to diversify or expand are also welcome said Mr Haddrick: We are already looking at the potential to extend the outdoor production space we have onto adjacent land to support more large scale business operations.
The centre has already attracted a significant amount of interest from the marine sciences community.
Professor Grant Burgess of the Dove Marine Laboratory said: As the UKs first aquaculture incubator, Astec will draw aquaculture companies to the region to take advantage of the fantastic facilities, year round warm seawater and nearby expertise and advice.
Astec offers private laboratories, office units and 5300 sq. meters of outdoor production space and test beds for research or commercial ventures. Additional benefits include onsite business mentoring, and support from a technical advisory group made up of industry peers. As a private sector SME, any company partnering with Astec could find themselves at an advantage when applying for funding, due to the Centres existing networks and links with the scientific community.
All of the space offered at Astec is completely private, flexible and scalable, enabling businesses room to grow. Each of the laboratories is fitted with specialist equipment, enabling tenants to plug in and go, and individually metered, to help control costs. Individual heating, extraction and light control means that laboratory conditions can be customised and 24/7 secure access means tenants can operate at times that suit them.