Brighton and Hove Information » Brighton enterprise incubator brings in UN skilled to spice up innovation
An incubator in Brighton has hired a United Nations expert to help new businesses innovate and grow.
Tanya Popeau, is the first director of innovation and advice at the Sussex Innovation Center.
The innovation center, owned by Sussex University, has helped hundreds of startups created by students on the Falmer campus – and also helps small businesses grow or “scale”.
Many of the founders were research students who wanted to turn their ideas into money making.
Ms. Popeau, who reports to the Innovation Center’s General Manager, Nigel Lambe, is expected to develop Sussex Innovation’s advisory and support programs with an emphasis on innovation and sustainability.
Your role will be to help growing businesses develop innovative products and to provide tailored support for purpose-driven businesses whose founders want to have greater social, environmental and economic impact.
Ms. Popeau previously served as a consultant and advisor at the forefront of the United Nations’ strategic focus on innovation.
She said: “I look forward to joining Sussex Innovation at a very exciting time.
“Across the company there is a very clear direction and desire to make a positive change in the world as we continue to focus on the skills and expertise of the team to help companies across the region turn groundbreaking ideas into commercial success to develop.
“It will be exciting to drive this agenda forward.”
While working for the United Nations, Ms. Popeau oversaw the development of the Asia-Pacific International Agency’s first innovation fund, addressing challenges ranging from climate change to gender-based violence.
For the British innovation agency Nesta, she researched ways of promoting innovation in international development.
During her tenure at the Royal Holloway University of London, she worked with organizations such as the BBC, Amnesty International and Procter and Gamble.
Mr Lambe said: “The last 18 months have brought extraordinary circumstances for the economy, especially for the ambitious start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) we work with.
“During the pandemic, we consulted with both our members and the wider community to understand their challenges and what support they need most.
“We’re fortunate to have a great team of experts who specialize in providing insight, strategy and marketing expertise to innovative companies, but we’ve heard of many companies that have been forced to change their business model, products and market to rethink radically.
“We know we can add great value by helping established business owners foster a stronger spirit of innovation and effectively manage change in an already successful company – a need that Tanya is uniquely able to address.”
Her appointment comes a few months after Sussex Innovation appointed a director to run the new Brighton Center in the New England Quarter near the train station.
Claire Pasquill, previously Program Manager at the Sussex Innovation Center in Falmer, took the position eight years after joining the organization and previously as an event manager.
In addition to its offices in Brighton and Falmer, the Sussex Innovation Center also has a hub in Croydon.
The organization was founded 25 years ago and has been wholly owned by Sussex University since 2008.
The centre’s supporters include product design graduate Lucy Hughes, who won a £ 10,000 award for starting a business with the greatest potential for positive social change.
Their invention, Marinatex, made from fish waste, is intended to offer the packaging industry a sustainable alternative to plastic film.
The center is also home to Virtual Doctors, a charity that enables doctors in the UK to help sick patients abroad in countries like Zambia and Malawi. Find out more about the virtual doctors here.