The building is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of a £300m capital investment programme across all campuses, with university authorities confident it will bring benefits to the regional economy.
Key professional organisations will have a base in the new building enabling barristers, accountants, small business owners and start-ups to mix with staff and students in the learning and social areas.
Donna Whitehead, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean of BBS and BLS said: “This will be a live environment where staff and students and business work together – with collaboration at its core.
“We consult with our advisory board of key business figures who challenge us to make our provision meet the needs of employers and the latest developments in the business world.”
UWE president and vice-chancellor, professor Steve West, added: “We are harnessing relationships with thousands of businesses across the region, nationally and internationally, helping us to shape our courses so that our students develop the skills that are needed to help the economy thrive,”
The university has a policy of fostering entrepreneurship and new businesses. Last year, Bristol Law School students doing pro bono work gained £1m in welfare benefits for people wrongly declared fit for work.
They also advise start-ups and tech businesses though the Business Clinic, which will diversify into digital marketing, finance and tax advice over the next year.
In the Team Entrepreneur course, a degree is earned by students collaborating in teams to create and run a business over a three-year period under the guidance of mentors.
“Activities like these keep us in touch with what is happening in the region,” said Whitehead, “and provide students with relevant work and placement opportunities as they interact with business, owners and developers.”
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