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University joins new funding initiative for Solent companies

Published: 
4 November 2010

The University of Southampton has joined a new initiative to help growing companies in the Solent region look for business development funding.

Launched at the Collaborate2Innovate 2010 event, the Universities of Southampton and Portsmouth announced that they have signed a sponsorship deal with Oxford Innovation to support investment network meetings and investor training workshops in Southampton and Portsmouth from next year.

The aim of the collaboration is to assist local companies by providing access to funding from high net worth individuals (‘business angels’) who are members of Oxford Innovation’s investment networks and to facilitate involvement by prospective local investors. The longer term objective is to work with local partners to establish a new Solent investment network.

The University of Southampton has a strong commitment to developing local business and has already established successful schemes such as the SETsquared Business Acceleration Programme, which has incubated over 30 companies. In 2010 alone, these companies have raised £9.2 million of investment. A classic example of a company that has benefited from the programme is Ilika plc, which floated on AIM during May at a market capitalisation of £18.7m and employs over 30 people. Ilika identifies and scales up materials for use in commercial applications such as longer lasting batteries and more efficient sensors.

Nigel Vaughan, Solent Synergy; Dr Tony Raven, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Southampton
The partnership was launched

The sponsorship deal will see the universities provide support for two of Oxford Innovation’s investment networks: Thames Valley Investment Network (TVIN), which helps companies secure funding from £150,000 to £750,000 and includes a focus on the clean tech and creative and new media sectors and Oxford Early Investments, which assists early stage companies with proof of concept funding from £25,000 to £250,000.

Dr Tony Raven, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Southampton, said: “Innovation is the engine of our economy and the Solent region is a hotbed of entrepreneurs with innovative new technologies and ideas. By linking with Oxford Early Investments and TVIN, we will be able to provide these start-up companies with direct access to investors, which will help accelerate their growth and the growth of the local economy. In the longer term, we hope to establish a local investment network.”

Don McLaverty, joint managing director of Innovation Services at Oxford Innovation, added: “Oxford Innovation is committed to working with local partners, including the universities, Portsmouth City Council, Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, Solent Synergy, the Solent Innovation and Growth Team and SetSquared to support the growth of companies here.

“We are delighted to welcome the universities of Southampton and Portsmouth on board as prestigious new sponsors of both the TVIN Network and Oxford Early Investments.”

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