The University of Southampton is one of the top 15 research-led universities in the UK and is most widely recognised for its expertise in areas such as aerospace, automotive, life sciences, information economy, nuclear, oil & gas, offshore wind, construction, big data, satellites, robotics, regenerative medicine, agri-science, advanced materials & nano technology and energy storage according to Sir Andrew Witty’s Review, released in October 2013.

Since setting up a centre on the University of Southampton's Highfield Campus in June 2003, SETsquared has quickly established itself as a vital support to the local high-tech community. Data security, software and telecoms feature prominently among the ventures supported by SETsquared in Southampton which is now located at the University's Science Park in Chilworth, see Directions for details. 

The centre in Southampton is headed up by David Bream and offers state-of-the-art incubation facilities including workstations, reception services, flexible meeting rooms, broadband connectivity and wireless LAN.

Fact sheet


Incubation: 13 desks in open-plan office space.
We can take in companies at any stage up to around 3 people.

Physical features

Grow on space: the Science Park welcomes businesses of various sizes with space ranging from 200 sq ft to 16,000 sq ft, and there is flexibility for tenants to fit out accomodation to their own specifications. It features a number of meeting rooms, reception facility, broadband, wireless data and telecoms.
Transport connections to Southampton Science Park are excellent: situated one mile from the M3, junction 14, and close to the M27 on the northern edge of Southampton, the Park is a very convenient location to access the whole of southern England. In addition to excellent motorway access, the development is close to Southampton Parkway Station and Southampton International Airport with direct flights to over 50 destinations throughout the UK and Europe.
Alongside Southampton’s great business links, the area is also steeped in history, with Winchester, the ancient capital of England, nearby. Sailing on the Solent is a legendary pastime and fishermen flock to the world famous River Test in pursuit of its trout. The New Forest, just a short drive away, is ideal for walking, cycling, horse riding and camping. Southampton itself provides a strong cultural and sporting centre, and the Isle of Wight is a popular destination for day trips and holidays.

Support features

  • Standard SETsquared Business Acceleration model for virtual, pre-incubation and incubation stage companies.
  • 15 mentors attached to the centre, another 50 or so available across the other centres.
  • A wide variety of events, workshops and seminars are organised for members as well as investment readiness programmes and introductions across multiple networks.

Host University


Key academic research themes

Aerospace, automotive, life sciences, information economy, nuclear, oil & gas, offshore wind, construction, big data, satellites, robotics, regenerative medicine, agri-science, advanced materials & nano technology and energy storage.
source: Sir Andrew Witty’s Review, released in October 2013

Southampton affiliates

Finance Intellectual property
Thomas Eggar LLP
Richard Ashmead
Bank of England
ClearView IP
Intellectual Property Office
Baker Tilly
Enacta Growth
Paris Smith
Cobalt Corporate Finance LLP
D Young and Co
ASC Finance for businesses
Boult Wade Tenant
Solent LEP

Technology Strategy Board (TSB)

TSB has identified key priority areas for boosting growth in the United Kingdom through innovation: advanced materials including construction, clean tech and transport, bioscience-based products and services, built environment to control carbon emissions targets, digital economy, electronics, sensors and photonics, secure, affordable and sustainable energy, food, healthcare, high value manufacturing, ICT, space, resource efficiency, transport and other areas such as creative, design, financial services and emerging technologies and industries.

Solent LEP

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is led by the business community and supported by four university partners, the further education sector, three unitary authorities, eight district councils, one county council and the voluntary and community sector – all working together to secure a more prosperous and sustainable future for the Solent area.
Key Priorities:
Enterprise - Supporting enterprise, the emergence of new businesses and ensuring the survival and growth of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Solent region.
Infrastructure priorities - Strong focus on infrastructure priorities including land assets, transport and housing, reducing flood risk and improving access to high speed broadband.
Inward investment - Establishing a single inward investment model to encourage companies to open new sites in the region and to support them with effective marketing.
Skills for Growth - Establish a sustainable pattern of growth, ensuring local residents are equipped to take up the new jobs that are created.
Strategic Sectors - Developing strategic sectors and clusters (interconnected groups and businesses) of marine, aero and defence, advanced manufacturing, engineering, transport and logistics businesses


The Enterprise M3 area stretches 75 miles through Hampshire and Surrey, from rural communities in the New Forest to the perimeter of Heathrow Airport.
Key Priorities:
  • Developing entrepreneurship culture and skills, particularly in Higher and Further Education (working with HEEG).
  • Apprenticeships - making it easier for small and medium size companies to take on apprentices by removing bureaucracy from the system.
  • Making the most of existing skills by encouraging and enhancing labour force mobility based on cross–sector skills matching - to make sure that the skills of people being made redundant are available to local companies.
Enterprise Support
  • Providing advice and innovative solutions to the ongoing problems of accessing finance, whether for cash flow or for business growth.
  • Ensuring that the best local companies are able to take advantage of Business Coaching for Growth, and other government funded programmes – through providing effective business networks and support.
  • Given the sector mix of the Enterprise M3 area, universal access to superfast broadband is a very high priority.  This is the single biggest infrastructure improvement which is required.
  • Using the Growing Places Fund to deliver those infrastructure improvements which are most able to deliver the Enterprise M3 vision.
Red tape and planning
  • Commissioning research to better understand the areas of regulation and legislation which are creating particular burdens for local companies.  This may lead to action on improving engagement between regulators and businesses, or advocating changes to regulations and their application.
  • Ensuring the planning process is understood by, and influenced by the needs of, business, and able to deliver the developments necessary to achieve our vision – while recognising its essential role in maintaining the quality of the environment.

Established networks

A series of IGNITE your… events carried around specific issues of interest with selected pool of participants, of which the last have been:
IGNITE opportunities, thoughts and funding
Catapult centres
Designed to transform the UK’s innovation capability in key areas to help drive future economic growth.
Meet on _connect, our open innovation and networking portal designed to accelerate business innovation.
Innovate UK
Our major annual networking, conference and showcase event with UKTI - making innovation and trade happen.
Knowledge Transfer Networks
Networks enabling the UK’s innovation communities to connect, collaborate and discover new opportunities.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
Offer businesses the opportunity to work with academic institutions to gain access to new knowledge.
Themed ‘missions’ take entrepreneurial companies to countries strong in innovation and enterprise.

Local amenities

Southampton has a rich maritime heritage with a major focus on water sports, sailing and ocean racing. Southampton's port is not only the cruise capital of Europe, with over 450 cruise ship movements a year, on ships such as the Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2, and from 2010 the Queen Elizabeth. The city's waterfront is home to Europe's biggest on-water Boat Show, which arrives in Southampton for ten spectacular days every September.
With a population of around 253,651, Southampton has its own international airport, so the city is within easy reach of Europe, with good connections to cross-channel ferries and the Eurostar rail service.
The area has two universities, the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University with a combined student population of 36,600.
Southampton prides itself on being a diverse city, a home for people from a variety of different cultures and faiths. It plays host to over four million visitors a year and boasts an impressive cultural offering, from museums, music venues and art galleries, to award winning parks and the general hustle and bustle of a diverse city with fantastic shopping facilities.
With magnificent parks and The Common at the heart of the city, Southampton can offer more open spaces than any other town outside London.

Local sector features

There are around 50,000 registered businesses operating in the city and around 105,000 people have employment in Southampton either as employees or self-employed.
The most significant sectors in terms of number of businesses and number of employees are distribution, tourism, business and finance related activities.
Southampton, along with Portsmouth, are two cities driving the development of the wider South Hampshire sub-region's economy. Together they provide nearly 40 per cent of high skilled jobs in the Solent.