First tenants move into the University of Derby’s Innovation Centre in Chesterfield

"We were impressed by the opportunities the Innovation Centre provides to be part of a like-minded community." - Ann Fomukong-Boden, Kakou MD Image from the University of Derby

“We were impressed by the opportunities the Innovation Centre provides to be part of a like-minded community.”
– Ann Fomukong-Boden, Kakou MD
Image from the University of Derby

The first business has taken up residence at the University of Derby’s new Innovation Centre, a hub of six high-specification units based in Chesterfield, designed to support manufacturing and medical engineering companies in the area.

Kakou Technologies, run by husband and wife team Ann Fomukong-Boden and Mark Boden, design and manufacture products that aim to identify and remove barriers that exclude people with disabilities from accessing mainstream participation in music and the creative arts.

Their products include features that are accessible without the need for special adaptations, and the company also provides full product design and R&D engineering consultancy to other companies and individuals, both locally and internationally.

The company had been based at their home in Chesterfield before moving to the Innovation Centre, which allows small businesses to incubate new ideas, increase their growth and develop new products by creating a stimulating environment for innovation, learning and problem-solving. A workshop facility offers support for design prototyping and materials analysis and testing, with a focus on sustainability.

Managing Director Ann said: “As a business we believe in collaboration, so were impressed by the opportunities the Innovation Centre provides to be part of a like-minded community and are excited to see who will move in next. We are delighted with the support provided by the Centre and by commercial manager Laura Williams. She advised us on the funding and networking opportunities available to us, which have really helped our business move to the next level.

“Our aim at Kakou is to be more efficient, low-energy and sustainable, using recyclable materials wherever possible. We have been able to link in with research teams from the University’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering to investigate the environmental impact of our products and look into working with new materials.”

The Innovation Centre is part of the University of Derby’s wider commitment to working collaboratively with businesses, sharing expertise with innovation and sustainability in mind.

It is one of three tailored business support hubs which match small businesses with opportunities to access space, expertise, advice, funding, facilities and talent to help them grow. New businesses can pay stepped rental charges and get a range of business support services to set them on their way.

For more information or to register your interest in the Chesterfield business units, email chesterfield@derby.ac.uk or call 0800 001 55 00.