Feasibility study for a £19 million national innovation centre
Developing a compelling business case
What is the business case and demand for a national innovation centre for mountain biking in the Scottish Borders?
Urban Foresight’s feasibility study and business plan for a new innovation centre helped to secure £19 million of funding from the Borderlands Growth Deal.
The Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland will be an exemplar research facility and workspace to capitalise on a sector that could be worth more than £49.5 million per year to the Scottish economy.
Urban Foresight was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise to test the demand for the centre and to refine the business case.
Cross-cutting expertise in innovation, enterprise and local economic development made Urban Foresight uniquely well placed to deliver this study.
The study also benefited from Urban Foresight’s track record of developing strategy, raising funding and delivering innovation hubs elsewhere in the UK. Notable examples include the London Innovation Gateway, the Michelin Science and Innovation Parc and the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing.
The study involved a comprehensive programme of research and interviews. This engaged local, national and international businesses in the mountain biking sector. Insights were also collected from regional stakeholders, business support organisations and property companies.
This revealed the potential to address significant barriers to innovation for many companies, especially SMEs. These barriers included difficulties in integrating new technologies into existing processes, limited access to commercial scale test facilities and the need for expert support to trial innovative solutions.
This analysis informed recommendations on potential locations facilities, governance and ownership of the centre.
Urban Foresight also provided detailed financial modelling, an outline design of the centre and consideration of the potential local economic benefits.
The £19 million funding secured from this study will enable the construction of £13 million centre and the creation of a new £6 million bike park to support testing and to attract tourists.
Companies will also benefit from expert support from Edinburgh Napier and Strathclyde Universities.
The centre is expected to be fully operational by 2022/23.