Cathedral scheme is already looking to a bright future

PLEDGE From left, Fareham MP Mark Hoban, Baroness Elizabeth Berridge and The Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral The Very Rev David Brindley with their �75 share pledges. Picture Andy Brooks
PLEDGE From left, Fareham MP Mark Hoban, Baroness Elizabeth Berridge and The Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral The Very Rev David Brindley with their �75 share pledges. Picture Andy Brooks
Rae Bryden, manager at Joules in Gunwharf Quays, who was the Manager of the Year winner and was runner-up in the Fashion Store of the Year category at The News's Retail and Leisure Awards in 2016.  Picture: Sarah Standing (170883-5016)

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A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND innovation centre launched in Portsmouth last week is already making a name for itself.

The Cathedral Innovation Centre is the first to link up the church, a university business school, and mentors from different backgrounds to help start-up firms take their first steps to success.

As reported by The News, The CIC, a ground-breaking social enterprise, was officially launched by Baroness Elizabeth Berridge and Fareham MP and employment minister Mark Hoban.

Now it has emerged other areas are coming on board and setting up their own church-led innovation centres.

Plans are already advanced for a similar base in a Roman Catholic church in Southampton and in Havant.

The CIC is also in talks about similar centres in Derby, Cheshire, East Anglia, Bournemouth and in the north east.

Baroness Berridge said: ‘This isn’t just one Cathedral Innovation Centre, but the start of a movement.

‘It’s about providing jobs, which is the best expression of hope, providing a real sense of self-worth.

‘I’d like to pay tribute to the cathedral and the leaders of the Roman Catholic churches in Southampton for grasping the vision, and look forward to others joining the campaign.’

Nine different firms are now being supported in Portsmouth, with that number set to double.

To date they include a computer games firm, catering company and a business that redevelops old land for wider public use.

The initiative is a partnership between the cathedral, the Royal Society of Arts, the University of Portsmouth Business School, and the Roman Catholic diocese of Portsmouth.

Mr Hoban, who launched a £75 share scheme to fund the centre’s expansion in order to help more home-grown entrepreneurs, said: ‘Each of us putting forward £75 is a really powerful way of giving financial support to businesses.

‘Often business people have really good ideas, but no capital to get the business going.

‘This is saying to the people who are looking for work that we aren’t just talking about it, but we are doing it as well.’

See cathedralinnovation centre.com.