BUILDERS are about to start work on a £4.3m centre to boost entrepreneurship in Torfaen.

The £4.4m Innovation Centre is set to be a state-of-the-art incubator and start-off point for budding businesses.

The 25,000 sq ft building will provide office space, IT support and conference rooms and could open in autumn 2005.

Councillor Bob Wellington, leader of Torfaen Council, said: "This is the largest Objective One bid project to date and it has enormous potential for people who are creative and want to develop business ideas.

"This centre is going to make sure we give entrepreneurs all the help we can so they succeed. New businesses will mean new jobs which in turn boosts the local economy. I want Torfaen to be a place where new businesses can get the very best support and advice to be a success."

The Innovation Centre is being built in Llantarnam Park, Cwmbran. It will cater for up to 60 businesses at any one time and will create 200 jobs in the first three years alone.

An entrepreneurial management team will be based in the Centre. Torfaen Council developed the project with funding from the WDA, European Regional Development Fund and the Assembly.