SCI-Tech Daresbury welcomed 27 new businesses to the science and technology hub during 2019.

The new tenants included eight companies from overseas, with the campus now home to a total of 150 businesses.

It has attributed its international attraction to its ‘soft-landing’ programme, which offers free workspaces and support to global technology firms in its Innovation Centre for up to 12 months.

Sci-Tech Daresbury chairman John Downes said: “We’re pleased to be reporting another year of continued success for Sci-Tech Daresbury, which has seen a number of new tenants join the campus.

“A major contributor to this growth has been a direct result of the interest we are receiving from international businesses looking to relocate their operations to the UK, and we’re delighted that so many have chosen the campus as their new home.

“The power of the collaborative culture on campus cannot be underestimated, and when combined with the wealth of scientific expertise and facilities on offer it creates a very special place for companies to develop and expand.

“Looking forward to the new decade, we’ll strive to continue to encourage innovation between our tenant companies on a local, national and international level.

“We’re excited to see what the year ahead holds for the campus as we continue to develop and attract even more companies to the site in 2020 and invest in future facilities to support businesses as they grow on site.”

Among the new businesses moving on to the Daresbury site during last year was American biotechnology company Livful, which creates technology in order to prevent insect bites.

Found and chief innovation officer Hogan Bassey said: “What’s happening at Sci-Tech Daresbury is like Silicon Valley, but the culture is better.

“In the US, it’s as much about the individual hero – but in the UK, people come together more frequently and there’s a different sense of collaboration.

“Sci-Tech Daresbury feels like a community, and that creates a different kind of energy which you feel at the business breakfast networking events.

“Setting up a business is very capital and research intensive – in Silicon Valley it’s three times the cost to set up a lab, but here you can tap into resources to help.

“There’s something special here, and we looked at other parts of the world for a base.

“We thought of Germany and Switzerland, we looked at different clusters and talent pools and knowledge bases – for example in the north east corridor in the US, San Francisco, and the idea of London was also heavily considered – but there’s something about Sci-Tech Daresbury that is so impressive.”

Integrated financial service company Leaf Global Fintech also moved to Sci-Tech Daresbury from Denver, Colorado, in 2019.

Co-founder and chief executive Nat Robison added: “We were interested in operating from the UK because it’s easier to negotiate time zones in Africa, while also the tech environment is great and there are a lot more investors who are open to investing in Africa that we can approach.

“The regulatory environment as well is a lot more supportive of fintech and money transfer services than in the US.

“When I visited the campus for the first time, I loved it.

“It’s a very well networked community with a number of investors involved, as well as important services like law and accountancy that are really helpful for a start-up – especially for one coming into a new country to navigate everything.

“Geographically, Sci-Tech Daresbury is really well situated – through Liverpool and Manchester, there are so many amazing destinations only a couple of hours flight away in Europe and there a lot of potential partners and investors that we have been in touch with already.

“They are all so much more accessible from the north west than we are from Denver.”