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Hi-tech centre celebrates a year of success

A pioneering South Yorkshire innovation centre has celebrated its first anniversary with the news that it is already more than 80 per cent full and has attracted £6.5 million of private sector investment.

A total of 14 hi-tech, high growth companies, employing 90 people have set up business in the 12 months since triple Formula 1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart officially opened the Innovation Technology Centre on South Yorkshire's Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Guests at the anniversary celebrations heard that during that year, the companies, which include three university spin outs have filed more than 20 patents.

Dr David Kingham, chief operating officer of Oxford Innovation, which runs the centre, said: "We are delighted with the outstanding success of the ITC in its first year of operation, and proud to be associated with it.

"We look forward to seeing the ITC and the companies within it go from strength to strength over the next few years."

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South Yorkshire entrepreneur and Yorkshire Forward board member Julie Kenny, said: "The Innovation Technology Centre represents a great step forward in innovation, technology and manufacturing. A world class centre within a world class manufacturing technology location.

"We believe the centre will continue to be a focus for innovation in the Advanced Engineering and Materials sector - strengthening this region's economy by providing a competitive advantage to the companies here and to their partners."

Companies based at the Innovation Technology Centre include Newcastle University spin out ITI Energy, which has created 10 new jobs and generated 1 million of sales during its first year of operations.

The company was attracted to South Yorkshire by the Life Incubator, which is also located at the Centre, and is currently pursuing partnerships in Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America.

Managing director, Tony Fordham, said: "Our company initially operated out of a small office in North Yorkshire, but since relocating to the ITC in 2006 we have grown - we now have eight employees and are recruiting another five employees."

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