The University of Bath will use its share of £13.7 million knowledge transfer funding to create an enterprise and innovation centre, while the University of Leeds celebrates the opening of its £2.4 million innovation centre.
The Bath centre is to receive about £4 million, which will exploit the university's intellectual property. It will also create jobs to provide specialist support for start-up and spin-off companies in the Bath and Wiltshire area.
Vice-chancellor Glynis Breakwell said: "The university is delighted to have received this multimillion-pound boost to its enterprise and innovation activities.
"We have ambitious plans to extend our support for start-up businesses in the region, and we are confident that many of these new businesses will be the product of the creativity, enterprise and innovation of our own staff and students."
The Leeds centre, on the site of the former Leeds Grammar School, was opened by Lord Sainsbury, science and innovation minister.
It will build strategic partnerships between the university and business by offering companies access to research teams and facilities and providing academics with a home for their spin-off companies.
The centre will provide high-tech, fully serviced office space for innovative start-up companies and will offer them full early-stage support in a joint venture with Shepherd Developments.
David Hogg, Leeds pro vice-chancellor with responsibility for "third-arm" strategy, said: "The innovation centre will put the university and the Leeds area to the forefront of the knowledge transfer market.
"The centre will provide university researchers with an environment to develop and nurture spin-off companies to commercialise their ideas. The local economy will also benefit enormously with partnerships between the university and local business being supported."
• An initiative was launched by Bournemouth University last week to provide an incubator for start-up businesses in Dorset.
Several companies have already established themselves in the centre, designed to support the development of knowledge-based companies in the region. The centre is funded by a grant from the South West of England Regional Development Agency.