Design Council chairman Sir George Cox has declared Coventry University's state-of-the-art Design Hub officially open.
Sir George, who produced the Government-commissioned Cox Review urging more university support for the creative industries, cut the ribbon at a special ceremony.
The Design Hub is geared to support design-led companies and entrepreneurs in the West Midlands. Businesses can benefit from design assistance, product development and intellectual property advice, while the Hub space can also be tailored for client presentations, meetings, training and hotdesking. Thirty-four businesses have already signed up to work with the Design Hub team.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Sir George said that the new Coventry University initiative was a landmark step in helping UK design companies prosper.
"Since my report was completed there has been a strong shift in understanding of the importance of design and how we prepare our designers, technologists and future managers to blend each others' skills more effectively," Sir George said. "The opening of the Design Hub should put Coventry in the forefront of this movement."
Sir George's review was triggered by concerns that UK business was not realising the full potential of its creative talent. There was particular anxiety that design-led small and medium-sized enterprises were not getting the support they needed to produce innovative products and take them to market.
Design Hub programmes manager Kathryn Stewartsaid she was delighted that Sir George had accepted their invitation to open the building. "Everything we have done here is on the back of the Cox Review so it is fitting that such an influential figure should see our work at first hand," she added.
Funded by the University's commercial arm, Coventry University Enterprises, and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, the Design Hub is based at the university's Technology Parkon Puma Way.
During his visit, Sir George also met vice-chancellor Prof Madeleine Atkins and staff from the university's Health Design and Technology Institute, Institute of Creative Enterprise and School of Art and Design.