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Drive to support growth.

Byline: By DAVID JONES Business Correspondent

TWO centres set up in North Wales to grow the opto-electronics and software sectors are taking part in a drive to encourage and support the growth of technology-based companies.

The project will help emerging and established knowledge-based companies, giving them access to specialist support within the pan-Wales technium network - without the initial requirement for them to rent space.

The network includes the CAST Centre for Advanced Software Technology, Ban-gor and the OpTIC technium, St Asaph.

Called the Technium Associate Membership programme, the scheme is targeting early stage companies - such as members of the Wales Innovation Network, SMART applicants and academics - as well as established companies looking for collaborative or networking opportunities.

Technium associate membership will also be open to overseas companies keen to set up a satellite operation in the UK.

Economic development minister Andrew Davies said the Welsh Assembly Government, through the Welsh Development Agency, had invested substantially in the technium network which he described as a unique package that offered a combination of incubator space, state- of-the-art facilities, university expertise and business and technical support, all under one roof.

He said: "It's built on the recognition businesses learn best from each other. With access to private sector partners it is an ideal platform for collaborating with like minded companies - all in an environment receptive to the extensive knowledge base of our academic centres of excellence."

To date, the network of eight technium centres across Wales has supported nearly 50 companies employing more than 300 people.

david.r.jones@dailypost.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 30, 2005
Words:259
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