The Innovation Centre at the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway research and technology park will open in 2019, it’s been announced.

The Centre will provide space and hands-on startup support for 50 businesses, joining the established business community on the Knowledge Gateway comprising more than 20 small businesses at the university’s Colchester campus.

The aim of the Innovation Centre is to have 2,000 people eventually working there, drawn not just by the business accommodation but also the business and academic support and on-campus resources and facilities provided by the university.

The development supports the university’s commitment to boosting its economic impact on the eastern region. According to a 2016 report, its direct and indirect contribution was more than £500m.

Alongside startup space, the Innovation Centre will house a digital creative studio, in support of the NESTA 2016 Geography of Creativity in the UK study findings that ranked Colchester in the top 10 in England for creative industries.