Local high-tech start-ups excel with digital business acceleration support from Farnborough

26thJul 2017

Ten tech start-ups have been offered the opportunity to get skilled up to the next level with help from a new digital business acceleration hub in Farnborough.

Since February, over 114 digital startups in total from the region have benefited from an award-winning, intensive two-day entrepreneurship programme, specially designed for entrepreneurs with a new idea for a digital technology product or service. The programme covers all elements of starting a business, from identifying a solution to a problem and sizing the market opportunity to building a solid financial plan.

At the end of the course, the best entrepreneurs are selected to receive a fully-funded place for up to one year with SETsquared Surrey’s digital business acceleration hubs.

The hubs, which are supported by the University of Surrey and Rushmoor Borough Council via their partnership in the global number one university business incubator SETsquared and are funded by £2.4m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and are nurturing new talent in the digital sector to turn entrepreneurs into the next British tech success stories. As well as Farnborough, growth towns of Basingstoke, Guildford and Woking are also home to digital business acceleration hubs.

In Farnborough, ten high growth potential start-ups have been offered the opportunity to sign up to support services with SETsquared Surrey, which is part of the enterprise partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.

The start-ups receiving support from SETsquared at Farnborough include:

  • BotsAndUs is a lifestyle robotics and AI company which designs, develops and build robots with the ongoing feedback and support of the actual humans that will use them.
  • ScreenLimit is a ground breaking tool which enables parents to remotely manage their children’s screen time from a smart phone, tablet or web browser.
  • Solo a free app that saves time and tracks money for freelancers. Solo replaces 10 different products and processes with one simple app, freeing up time for freelancers to deliver great work and be financially secure.

Gary Smith, hub manager for SETsquared’s hub at Farnborough, said: “The programme has had an incredible start, to have had such a huge uptake and effect in just six months. The calibre of start-ups and entrepreneurs we’ve seen applying for the programme has been very high, showing that there is an enormous amount of technological talent in the region.

“The programme has been specifically designed to meet the needs of digital high-tech entrepreneurs across the M3 region, and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to provide significant support to over 114 start-ups in such a short amount of time.”

In total, more than 360 high growth digital entrepreneurs will receive backing from the programme over the next three years. In addition to access to experienced mentors, the start-ups will be able to use specialist services connected to the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre.

Gianfranco Cecconi, who took part in the two-day course at Farnborough, said: “It is always useful to go back to the ‘why’ to remember why we are in our business, what drives us and how credible our proposition is to others. It is an exercise every entrepreneur should go through regularly.”

James Hill, director at start-up Fudge Productions, which is now supported by SETsquared through its Woking hub, said: “The course was exceptional, and I wish there had been something like this available 10 years ago when I first went into business.”

James Mannion, from start-up Leo Care Technologies, said: “I have never experienced a programme like this before, or rubbed shoulders with so many successful people. I have learnt more in two days on the course than I have since I started up my company. The course was extremely educating and massively beneficial.”

Through ERDF funding, the programme is funded by the Enterprise M3 LEP and the Department for Communities and Local Government. The programme is also supported by a number of partner organisations and councils, including Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Rushmoor Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council and Tannery Studios Innovation Centre for Creative Industries.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying for a programme or to learn more about the digital business acceleration hubs can visit: http://www.setsquared.co.uk/start-support/digital-business-acceleration-hubs