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Cobra Beer founder opens enterprise 'hothouse' at Brunel University

New Innovation Hub intends to helps students and local business help eachother and foster enterprise

The vice-chancellor of Brunel University, Professor Julia Buckingham, with Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea at the official opening of the Innovation Hub at the campus in Kingston Lane, Uxbridge

Business got a boost at Brunel University last week with the official opening of its Innovation Hub.

Lord Bilimoria – of Cobra beer fame – was guest of honour at a ceremony to declare the facility open. The hub will foster enterprise among Brunel’s students, helping them get into the entrepreneurship habit from when they join the university to when they leave, in the hope their ‘big idea’ will not only succeed but create jobs and wealth.

Not that failure is not an option, Lord Bilimoria told the gathering on Thursday night last week in the lecture centre, and entrepreneurs should always be prepared to ‘crash and burn’.

“Becoming an entrepreneur is just the most amazing journey: to try, to experience, to learn and possibly to fail,” said Lord Bilimoria, who revealed his company came close to going under three times.

Andrew Ward, the hub’s director, said the university would work closely with businesses, succusful alumni entrepreneurs and other ‘business incubators’ such as the one at The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, to create success stories.

“The innovation hub will turn fantastic ideas into working innovations,” he said.

Students can get everything from advice to mentoring to a chance at funding through the hub. Brunel has a very high rate of graduates staying and working within a short distance of the university in Kingston Lane, Uxbridge.

Companies in the community who feel they have something to offer, or who would like to know more, can get in touch by emailing or via its website,, or call Barry Hodges-White, a member of the hub team, on 01895 267057.

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