A government-funded centre designed to accelerate the UK’s digital economy will open its doors to startups and universities in just over four weeks.

The Connected Digital Economy Catapult Centre, which is being set up by the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), will act a melting pot between business, universities and other digital stakeholders.

Those behind the centre, located in King’s Cross, said it will provide entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers and corporate organisations with a space to meet and collaborate on development projects. 

It is envisaged that the centre will address many of the challenges facing “digital innovators”, including privacy issues and how to capitalise on the internet of things.

Innovate UK, which is funded with £440 million of taxpayer's money, claims that the centre will "make a difference" to 10,000 UK organisations over the next four years, generating £365 million of linked economic value

“When trying to address major challenges, for example the Internet of Things in healthcare, businesses reach a point where they need help to cross some ‘chasms’ on the way to bringing their products or services to market,” said Neil Crockett, CEO of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult. 

“It’s at this point the Digital Catapult Centre will play a part. The UK is full of universities and clusters where people think of great ideas and are given support. We want to complement that. We’ll bring people together in collaborative development projects to unlock four challenges in the data value chain in order to accelerate digital innovators to market.”

Andy Green, chairman of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult, said: “The Centre has been designed with creativity and technology at its heart. That doesn’t mean a room with a pink slide – the fusion of creativity, technology and design is what will allow the UK to unlock the potential of digital. This space has features we know help people combine creativity and technology to think, learn and accelerate digital development."

Although the Connected Digital Economy Catapult will initially be based in London, there are plans to launch regional hubs across the country.

The Digital Catapult Centre is one of seven Catapult Centres across the UK which represents different growth sectors. Others include high value manufacturing, cell therapy and future cities. 

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