Hertfordshire’s Enterprise Zone was launched as Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter today, at an event for 80 guests hosted by partner Rothamsted Research.
In a move to become the UK’s leading place for green businesses, Hertfordshire IQ will encourage environmental technology, agri-tech and modern construction companies to take advantage of its market access and location 30 minutes from London.
Jake Berry, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth said:
“Since their creation, Enterprise Zones have been the foundations of success for over 1,100 businesses, attracting £4.28 billion of private sector investment and creating over 51,000 jobs - proving the UK is a great place to do business.
“Hertfordshire IQ aims to become the leading place in the UK for businesses operating in modern construction, agri-tech and related digital and environmental technologies and the £680,000 investment from the Local Growth Fund has opened the door for up to 800 new businesses, creating over 8,000 new jobs.
“Hertfordshire IQ will also form the commercial heart of the Hemel Garden Communities development at Hemel Hempstead, creating around 10,000 high quality new homes in a wonderful setting."
Based in Hemel Hempstead, with 3 million sq.ft of development planned over the next 10 years, Hertfordshire IQ will provide sustainable, flexible workspaces, tax breaks and collaboration opportunities with industry experts to create a UK hub of green companies.
Businesses will be able to commercialise research or boost product development working with Hertfordshire IQ’s partners: UK built environment leaders BRE Group, Rothamsted Research, global pioneers of agricultural science and the University of Hertfordshire, experts in AI and robotics.
Councillor David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Chairman of Hertfordshire Growth Board, said: “Our vision is for Hertfordshire to be made up of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable communities, where people choose to live and work – and long-term initiatives like Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter will be important in achieving this.”
“Over the last 10 years, there has been a loss of more than 770,000 square metres of employment floor space in our county with Permitted Development Rights, facilitating conversion to residential use, playing a big part. Hertfordshire IQ will help considerably in redressing the balance in the coming years.”
“Local jobs are crucial to achieving sustainable growth, and we have a key role to play in supporting small and medium-sized businesses so that they can grow and thrive.”
“We believe that Hertfordshire IQ will make Hemel Hempstead a world-renowned location for green and environmentally-responsible technology.”
Asked about Hertfordshire’s reputation for clustering businesses to drive productivity, Mark Bretton, Chair of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership said: “We have a proven track record of clustering commercial activity around science and research and that’s exactly what we’re delivering with Hertfordshire IQ.”
“We’re encouraging a cluster of modern construction and agri-tech companies to locate here, shining a light on the world leading expertise we have in Hertfordshire.”
“With our partners BRE Group, Rothamsted Research and the University of Hertfordshire, we can offer businesses opportunities to develop and grow.”
He added: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We’re thinking about what we might need in the future – for transport, workplaces, blue and green infrastructure - and most importantly people and the local community.”
“We’re working with landowners like The Crown Estate and our Local Authority partners to create a desirable, sustainable and in demand business hub that thrives for generations to come.”
Enabled by its Enterprise Zone status, Hertfordshire IQ will also boost investment in local travel, transport and digital connectivity for the area.
The new commercial zone will offer businesses a flexible mix of work spaces from offices, co-working space, research and development labs to light industrial and warehousing.
Along with tax breaks and opportunities to collaborate with industry leaders, businesses will also benefit from guidance on how access funding through Hertfordshire Growth Hub.
Hertfordshire IQ also aims to create 8,000 jobs for local people, providing opportunities for residents to enjoy the benefits of both living and working in the local area.
New business parks will be built using sustainable materials and methods. A dedicated network of footpaths and cycle routes will also help residents ditch the car for a greener, healthier journey to work.
Hertfordshire IQ is already home to sustainable logistics business park owners Prologis and companies working in the supply chain for the construction industry.
Pictured above: Hertfordshire IQ partners Julie Newlan, University of Hertfordshire; Cllr Julian Daly, St Albans City and District Council; Cllr Andrew Williams, Dacorum Borough Council; Cherie Norris, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership; Niall Trafford, BRE Group; Mark Bretton, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership; Nicole Sadd, Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise; Cllr Alec Campbell, St Albans City and District Council.