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World first for The Old Vinyl Factory?

A ‘WORLD first’ programme to give start-up firms access to product development resources, investors and the market is being lined up for Hayes.

A WORLD first programme to give start-up firms access to product development resources, investors and the market is being lined up for Hayes.

The developers behind The Old Vinyl Factory (TOVF) have revealed plans to open the Central Research Laboratory (CRL), a facility to help inventors in manufacturing and new technology make their product ideas a commercial reality, and lead to a thriving start-up culture to rival Shoreditch and Old Street, in east London.

Hayes rich industrial past, and the legacy of HMV/EMI in the area, provided the inspiration.

Thorn EMI had its very own laboratory in Printing House Lane, which developed the CT scanner, television and radar, among others.

Martyn Evans, creative director at one of the partners in TOVF, Cathedral Group, said: In order for [TOVF] to work, and produce jobs and economic growth for the town, we cant just design some buildings and run a marketing campaign to fill them.

We have to get our hands dirty and start to nurture the kinds of businesses that will create those opportunities.

The CRL will be a place where concepts will be turned into products, makers into businesses, and inventors into successful entreprenuers.

The focus will be on cutting-edge businesses that have potential to grow and make money, and this will attract investors.

Financing, mentoring and manufacturing would all be done in-house under one roof, said Mr Evans, who believes that it would be the first dedicated facility of its kind in the world.

The project is still in the very early stages.

Money to get it off the ground is being sought through the governments Growing Places Fund, aimed at stimulating economic growth, and a business plan is due to submitted by July.

If funding is secured, the s20million facility could open up in the Record Store building one of the Wallis, Gilbert and Partners buildings being fully refurbished by later on next year.

Mr Evans said: We want to bring back that free-thinking spirit that made Hayes great, and will make it great again.

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