Scientists' £175,000 start-up proposal
A research business relocating to Asia is offering a walk-in opportunity to a graduate entrepreneur to take on its North Devon units which are kitted out with tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment.
Steve and Jean Marriot of Holsworthy-based fish research company Diobas say that it would be "ridiculous" to demolish the facilities they have spent so much in building up and which could provide someone with a once-in-a-lifetime start to their career.
Diobas had used the facilities to pioneer a way of rearing salt water fish, including cod and blue fin tuna, in freshwater. It has now relocated its operations to Vietnam, after securing a £100 million pound contract for its groundbreaking technology.
It holds a renewable lease with Torridge District Council on its Holsworthy business units, but says it would be required to strip the facilities bare, should it simply hand them back to the authority.
They are equipped with a lab, office and array of tanks – one of which fills a whole unit with a volume of around 75,000 litres. It also boasts a room full of studio and sound production equipment.
Mr Marriot said: "Having invested well in excess of £175,000 in the units, this seems to be such a waste."
The scientists have said they would be willing to hand over the facilities at half of the equipment value, paid back in interest free stages.
"Perhaps a young person at the end of their studies could walk into a very good business indeed without having to raise the start-up finance," Mr Mariot said.
"I would also consider a form of partnership – we could offer our expertise and perhaps some financial support in the first year to get things going.
"We are open to ideas as to how to keep the units running. They can provide a viable research base or fish breeding facility with a very good income."
Mr Marriot added: "I'm open to all suggestions, with the proviso that if fish form part of any project, they must be given every opportunity to live stress free."