A county industrial park has become the first in Gloucestershire to host a business Enterprise Hub.
Budding entrepreneurs will be able to develop their ideas into going concerns in a manufacturing environment at Vantage Point Business Village in Mitcheldean
The project is a joint venture inspired by Vantage Point and the University of Gloucestershire – and is part of the strategic local plan of GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership to support start-ups businesses in the county.
Serviced offices in the business village's Carlson Suite headquarters are being made available along with manufacturing expertise on site.
The objective is to encourage new enterprises to progress to full industrial units on the same site – something presently unequalled in the county.
There are four other Enterprise Hubs in Cheltenham and Gloucester – but none of those is situated at the heart of an industrial estate.
At the launch of the venture the head of commerce at Vantage Point, Dorian Wragg said: "We are aiming to create the right industrial environment for start-up businesses to flourish as we link up with our partners, the University of Gloucestershire.
"Essentially we are building on the legacy left by Rank Xerox (the former major employer in the area) and hope to create high-tech manufacturing businesses of the future to help provide jobs and boost the local economy.
"We are also planning to set up a hot-desking suite next door to the Enterprise Hub to encourage firms to develop."
GFirst LEP board member Neill Ricketts is chief executive officer of innovative advanced materials firm Versarien, based at Cinderford.
He said: "It gives me enormous pleasure to see the coming together of these great organisations in the Forest of Dean for the first of several great projects which could lead to the next big thing in manufacturing – which is still an important sector in the county.
"Companies will be able to progress from hot desking to full industrial units on the same site, which is something unequalled in the county.
"To have this facility this well supported in the area will enable companies to progress – as my company in Cinderford did.
"It will help build the next generation of entrepreneurs and benefit the economic growth of the area."
The University of Gloucestershire's enterprise and incubation manager Dr Basil Omar said the new Forest centre formed part of the roll-out of Enterprise Hubs supported by the European Regional Development Fund.