Business secretary Vince Cable paid tribute to ‘dynamic’ Dunstable as he opened Central Bedfordshire College’s new business centre on Thursday.
Mr Cable was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony for The Incuba, on Brewers Hill Road, a site which will house environmentally friendly businesses and retain strong links with the college.
The £4.4m centre was first agreed by Central Beds Council in August 2011, as a project to restore land around the former fire station site.
The college, which secured more than £1.9m from the European Regional Development Fund for the centre, hopes that The Incuba will attract start up businesses which can be given training support.
The centre will provide meeting rooms, event space and training courses.
It will also give advice on energy savings and how local businesses can be more energy efficient, reducing their energy costs along with reducing Co2 emissions.
Central Beds College estimates that the centre will help more than 200 businesses to start or grow by 2016, delivering 125 new jobs.
Mr Cable said: “Dunstable appears to be, from everything I have just heard, a very dynamic area with lots of businesses starting up. This will give them encouragement and a base.
“What it is interesting is that there is a theme here about environmentally friendly companies. There are lots of them and that is the future in the long run.
“I am very optimistic about this college; it has good leadership, good record and very good business links.
“Colleges have a large role to play with local businesses as they are close to themin terms of skill training.”
Ali Hadawi CBE, college principal & chief executive, added: “The Incuba is a collaborative approach to bringing business, education and local government together to promote business and a better environment- with the support of the ERDF.”