Agri-tech businesses strengthen links at latest Ni.PARK event

September 21, 2022

Businesses at Newport Innovation Park (Ni.PARK) teamed up for the latest networking event hosted by Telford & Wrekin Council in partnership with Harper Adams University earlier this month.

Companies which are based in the council owned units at the Newport site, along with Agri-EPI Centre West Midlands hub colleagues, were able to share ideas and strengthen links with each other.

Attendees were able to find out more about innovation projects and funding opportunities from Harper Adams head of business enterprise services, Clare Keegan, and Liz Wakeham-Jones, senior account manager for Telford & Wrekin Council’s Enterprise Telford business support team.

Claire Critchell, Marches Growth Hub manager and Louise Harding, the Council’s business advisor for inward investment and business support, Enterprise Telford account manager Elliot Payne and Sheila Dixon, the council’s team leader for regeneration and investment, were also on hand to offer support and advice to businesses.

Ni.PARK tenants all benefit from knowledge exchange with Harper Adams University and project partners.

Agri-EPI, based at Harper Adams University, supports the development of engineering and solutions for agri-tech firms in the agricultural and food sector.

Guests enjoyed drinks and freshly made pizzas at the event produced by Shropshire pizza company Sunflower Pizzas.

HCI Systems Ltd became the first business to move into Ni.PARK earlier this year and managing director Mike Tickner attended the event.

Mike said: “We’re already working closely with other businesses at Ni.PARK to see how we can help and support each other but events like this can only help to bring us even closer.

“We are really grateful for the support we’ve received from Telford & Wrekin Council and Harper Adams since we moved into the new unit and we are delighted to be here.”

Al Robinson, director at Yellow Hat Security Solutions, is one of the more recent businesses to open at Ni.PARK.

Al said: “It’s great to be able to meet people from other businesses and get to know them better so these events are definitely worthwhile.”

At the event, businesses also learnt how they can tap into a pipeline of new talent emerging from the university — via undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, apprenticeships, research studentships and student placements.

Tenants can use Agri EPI networks to develop their knowledge and products — building on research which is at the cutting edge of the agri-tech world.

Clare Keegan, head of business enterprise services at Harper Adams University, said: “We’re delighted to bring everyone together for these events with the support of Telford & Wrekin Council as our partner.

“It’s great to see Ni.PARK so full now and we are pleased to be facilitating the collaboration of businesses who are committed to investing in the agri-tech sector.”

Phase One of Ni.PARK was delivered by Telford & Wrekin Council and offers a range of 24 new sustainable employment units at the site based on the outskirts of Newport.

Ni.PARK has been supported by £7.36 million of funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership under the Local Growth Fund and a further £1 million from Homes England as part of the wider Newport Innovation and Enterprise package.

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The Newport Innovation and Enterprise package (Ni.PARK) started on site in December 2019 and will create serviced employment land including..

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

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