University Enterprise Zone

The University of Hertfordshire plays a vital and unique role in the Hertfordshire economy. Awarded by Research England, the University Enterprise Zone allows us to strengthen the Hertfordshire ecosystem, improving the amount of business start-ups and growth within the locality of Welwyn-Hatfield as well as the wider county.

The University of Hertfordshire is committed to meeting the challenges set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy. We are an enterprising and agile institution, focused on aligning our research, innovation and teaching activities to meeting the demands of business and society. Our extensive engagement with local businesses reflects our institutional history; we are proud of our origins as a leading technical college and one of the first polytechnics in the county.

The University Enterprise Zone will address many of these grand challenges and will allow us to support the productivity of businesses within the region supporting the impactful work of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership already in action.

With everything you need at your fingertips, it truly makes the University of Hertfordshire the place for business in the county.

  • 2,500m2 of life science labs and research equipment for local businesses
  • 750m2 floor dedicated to business incubation
  • Over 125 acres of campus across three sites
  • £550 million in export wins supported by Exemplas
  • 25 minutes from Central London
"This initiative gives the University the opportunity to support many more small businesses and start-ups in the Hertfordshire region, extending the work of our existing enterprise programmes, such as our Business Incubator. Stimulating the growth of small businesses will help drive economic development, turnover and employment in Hertfordshire, leading to greater long-term investment in the region.”

Professor Julie Newlan MBE

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and International Development) at the University of Hertfordshire

The Zone will operate across both our campuses; sited at the historic site of the former de Havilland Aerodrome in Hatfield; boosting academic engagement with early-stage business, leading to increased growth, employment, turnover and investment.

The University of Hertfordshire is situated is in the heart of the Golden Research Triangle between London, Cambridge and Oxford putting us in the perfect location to connect innovation, technology and some of the best talent in the world.

The University Enterprise Zone will bring together our work in supporting small and medium sized enterprises in a modern campus environment flourishing with creative thinking and world-class research. The Zone will be supported by a Project Manager and support team who will ensure that the Zone outputs are successful in providing opportunities for business to grow and scale up. As part of this, we’ll host a series of events throughout the year designed to enhance the business experience, open up networking opportunities and provide access to discipline specific content to the business community.

Fuelling investment for local businesses

The University Enterprise Zone has enabled us to invest in Zone Spaces, including new specialist workspaces, equipment, and online resources to meet observed start-up needs in areas such as rapid prototyping, app development, game/AR/VR development, sports science, food and nutrition. Within these spaces we’ll offer a Zone Pool, a collection of portable, specialist equipment such as cameras, Internet of Things (IoT) development kits and advanced drones.

Alongside this investment in critical facilities, we can provide businesses with the opportunity with Zone Experts, a network of academic and external advisers, covering the above technical areas plus market intelligence, social media, finance and tax, intellectual property and commercial law and social enterprise across many of the Zone Services.

Businesses will benefit from Zone Touchpoints including proof-of-concept funding and boot camp programmes to encourage more postgraduates to embark on an entrepreneurial pathway.

The University will welcome entrepreneurs from all backgrounds into a highly diverse environment where individuals from 140 countries are already present and females predominate. The Zone should make the business environment easily accessible to under-represented groups in enterprise, specifically female and minority ethnic-led businesses. Entrepreneurs will be able to engage in business start-up activities, as well as using our on-campus nursery facilities with additional child-friendly areas available across the campuses to support entrepreneurs with parenting responsibilities.

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