Enterprise – Annual Review 2016/17

Derby is the fastest growing city in the East Midlands and in the top ten nationally, according to a report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research. As a university, we recognise the role we have in training skilled workers and offering innovation and enterprise support to meet the needs of our thriving regional economy.

Industrial gateway

We want to support economic growth in the East Midlands and are keen to partner with local organisations to help make this happen. We are therefore developing an ‘industrial gateway’ that will make it easier for businesses to access support and collaborate on projects driven by the needs of regional industry and the supply chains. The industrial gateway will also improve access to our conferencing and business incubation services, as well as our commercial services in Buxton and Chesterfield.

A key element of the industrial gateway will be the development of the University of Derby Science Park, which was unveiled at MIPIM 2017. Based at Infinity Park in Derby, and adjacent to the world headquarters of Rolls-Royce, the University of Derby Science Park will provide a space where entrepreneurs, businesses and researchers can collaborate on innovative ventures.

Midlands Enterprise Universities

A partnership between seven universities in the Midlands was officially launched in October 2016 to bring jobs and wealth creation to the region. Midlands Enterprise Universities is a collaboration between the University of Derby, Birmingham City University, Coventry University, De Montfort University, University of Lincoln, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Wolverhampton. The partnership brings the institutions together to create a unique pool of skills, research, expertise and facilities, which will be made available to businesses and local authorities to create jobs, boost economic growth and plug skills gaps across the Midlands.

Supporting small businesses

We support local SMEs through various Government-funded schemes that aim to fuel business expansion and economic growth. In May 2017, a games development studio in Derby received £50,000 funding from the University’s Invest to Grow programme, which is supported by a £16 million grant from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. Strawdog Studios used the funding to develop its Times Table Adventures game, an educational product aimed at children aged 3-11.


Technical education is a good alternative to academic study, both for students aiming for a career that requires a specific skillset and companies looking to develop a skilled workforce. The University of Derby can support apprenticeship programmes from Level 2 to 7 and offers flexible entry points. We recently received £250,000 funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to develop degree apprenticeships from September 2017. The degree apprenticeships have been developed in response to the needs of the region and include: Nursing, Civil Engineering Site Manager, Digital and Technological Solutions: Cyber Security Analyst, Aerospace Engineer and Chartered Manager.

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