A SCHEME created at Portsmouth Cathedral to nurture new small
businesses was formally launched this week.
The Cathedral Innovation Centre (CIC) was established last year
to offer spare church office-space to embryo businesses.
Entrepreneurs were offered a package that included desk space,
start-up loans, administrative and marketing support, and mentoring
from more experienced businesspeople.
Since then, the idea has been taken up by churches in
Bournemouth and Havant, and the Portsmouth Roman Catholic diocese
has offered a building in Southampton. The director of the CIC,
Francis Davis, is in discussions with church authorities in East
Anglia, the North West, and Derby.
"Before being launched, the Portsmouth Innovation Centre is
full, and has a waiting list," he said. "For a total cost of £9000,
it has opened 14 start-up desks. Pledges in kind to date exceed
hundreds of thousands of pounds."
The centre was created as a partnership between Portsmouth
Cathedral, the University of Portsmouth's Business School, the
Portsmouth RC diocese, and the Royal Society of Arts.
New businesses signed up at Portsmouth include a catering
company, a charity that helps voluntary groups, and the computer
games firm Distinction Games, created by friends studying at the
University of Portsmouth. One of its directors, Orcun Adsoy, said:
"I came to look round, and was given two business contacts before
I'd even signed up to be part of the centre. The group running the
CIC are incredibly well-connected, the rent was incredibly low, and
the location beautiful."
At the launch, this week, by Baroness Berridge, who announced
the creation of the centre last May in the House of Lords, guests
were invited to join a community share floation. The centre wants
2000 people to invest £75 each to help firms and future