The remarkable success story of a decade of development at Beacon Innovation Centre was highlighted to business tenants celebrating its 10th anniversary.
John Balch, NWES strategic director, said that since May 2002 the Gorleston centre had been home to more than 200 companies leading to the creation of 500 new jobs.
Among many notable successes was Seajacks UK which started virtually as a one man business and now owned three multi-million pound self-powered jack-up vessels, enjoyed a turnover of £80m-plus last year and is shortly to move into a new £3m headquarters near Great Yarmouth's outer harbour.
Fellow offshore company 3sun had started with a team of three, had a turnover of around £15m last year and had just opened an additional office in Aberdeen. Large and developing company Fraser Offshore is also based at the centre along with trade association EEEGR, the East of England Energy Group, which represents more than 350 members of the energy sector supply chain.
"It has been truly an amazing story since first tenants Maritech moved in 10 years ago," Mr Balch told around 50 guests at the anniversary reception. "The idea for the centre came from an impact study by Shell, AMEC and the local councils in 2000 to look at what was needed to kickstart new business in this area. By 2002 the Beacon Innovation Centre was in existence. We were in the right place at the right time and the future looks very bright and positive."
The centre is run by enterprise specialists NWES which is itself celebrating an anniversary this month, its 30th."But this is not about us but about our tenants who use our services to go about growing their young businesses and treat this centre as their headquarters," said Mr Balch.
Solar panels and POD points for electric vehicle battery charging were recently installed, making it one of the first business centres in the region to take the initiative."
Beacon also links closely with OrbisEnergy, the Lowestoft-based offshore renewables' focus, and Leiston Enterprise Centre (nuclear) to create a significant 'Corridor of Power' encouraging innovation across the East of England energy sector.