Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich: Helping to turn ideas into reality

In his first Autumn Statement as chancellor, Philip Hammond announced plans to help British technology start-up companies by investing an initial £400million into venture capital funds.

Saturday, 3rd December 2016, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 1:02 pm
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Supporting entrepreneurs, engineers and inventors is something we put a lot of emphasis on in Peterborough and I am delighted by this week’s unveiling of The Innovation Lab.

This new resource at the Allia Future Business Centre in Peterborough will help turn ideas into realities, in particular for those entrepreneurs who want to make a positive, sustainable impact on the world.

We are lucky to now have access to the state-of- the-art design and rapid prototyping equipment, including a range of 3D printers, housed at The Innovation Lab as these types of facilities are normally located in very large cities or prominent academic institutions.

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The Innovation Lab has been supported by Opportunity Peterborough and Peterborough City Council through the Future Peterborough smart city programme. The programme was funded by Innovate UK to catalyse growth, innovation and sustainability in the city.

I would like to congratulate the teams from Opportunity Peterborough, Allia and the city council for making this happen. If you would like to find out more then you can visit

The Innovation Lab will further the appeal of the Allia Future Business Centre based at the Peterborough United stadium. It’s already home to a number of top performing businesses including ABAX, a company recently named as Europe’s fastest growing telematics business.

Peterborough has an enviable track record for new business start-ups; 2,071 new companies were started in Peterborough in the past 12 months and the city performs well in national leagues tables for patent registration too.

So how are we celebrating and sharing our success to help attract future investment? Peterborough was named “World Smart City 2015” and we recently were able to talk about our emerging entrepreneurial community on the global stage at the World Expo in Barcelona before the baton is passed to the 2016 smart champion.

To continue on the potential of business in Peterborough I was again delighted by the success stories celebrated at the Peterborough Telegraph Business Awards last week.

The winners and nominees encapsulated the broad spectrum of business in the city and an entertaining evening was a worthy way of giving these companies a chance in the limelight.

I was asked to present the award for Businessperson of the Year, which I was pleased to hand to Peterborough-born Andrew Killingsworth, founder and managing director of Yours Clothing. Andrew has come a long way since his days selling cracked eggs to Women’s Institute members - he now has more than 100 shops across the UK, including here on Bridge Street.

This is just one example of the many successful businesses operating in our city - I heard many more at last week’s awards.

And with Lord Sugar whittling down the candidates in the latest series of The Apprentice to find his eventual winner, Peterborough, of course, has had two Apprentice stars in recent years.

Last year’s winner Joseph Valente has gone from strength to strength and this month hired his own 16-year- old apprentice, Billy Robinson, to allow the teenager to learn the plumbing and heating trade. Nurun Ahmed, who appeared on the 2014 show, has also recently been back in the Peterborough news by opening her new shop Fusion Flair in the smart looking Westgate Arcade.

I wish Joseph, Nurun and all of Peterborough’s budding entrepreneurs a successful future.