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The University of Southampton

SETsquared partnership regains ranking as world’s top business incubator

Published: 22 February 2018
Group celebrating being number one
UBI Global recognises SETsquared as the World’s Top Business Incubator - Managed by University.

The SETsquared partnership has regained its ranking as the world’s leading business incubator for its outstanding contribution to developing the next generation of UK tech entrepreneurs.

The announcement, made at the World Incubation Summit in Toronto, Canada, confirmed SETsquared’s pre-eminence as ‘number one’ in its field which was first achieved in 2015.

SETsquared is an enterprise partnership between the universities of Southampton, Bath, Bristol, Exeter and Surrey which nurtures technology-based businesses throughout their lifecycle from idea through to investment and scale-up. The SETsquared Southampton Centre is based at the University of Southampton Science Park.

The partnership’s ranking comes as a result of the world's most extensive benchmark study of university-linked business incubators and accelerators, conducted by UBI Global, and has recognised SETsquared as the World’s Top Business Incubator - Managed by University.

Professor Mark Spearing, Vice-President (Research & Enterprise) at the University of Southampton said: “Regaining its status as the world number one is welcome recognition for SETSquared which thrives on collaboration to foster success. The partnership plays an important role in boosting the entrepreneurial activity of the University of Southampton and our fellow university and industry collaborators throughout the South of England and across the country, directly contributing to the UK’s business success on the global stage.”

With bespoke entrepreneur training programmes and unrivalled access to a network of mentors, alumni, investors, corporate partners and the knowledge base of the five universities, SETsquared has helped over 2,500 UK high-tech start-ups raise more than £1.5bn of investment and contributed over £3.8bn to the UK economy.

Last year over 880 entrepreneurs participated in SETsquared programmes and it incubated 381 companies which raised a record £218m investment – the highest ever annual investment raise from the SETsquared portfolio.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said:

“The SETsquared partnership has not only helped nurture and grow British technology businesses, but it has also contributed nearly £4 billion to the UK economy which is an incredible achievement. Being recognised as one of the world’s leading business incubators is fantastic news and testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at SETsquared and the universities they work with.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re calling on businesses to invest in the latest technology trends, and through our Sector Deals and Grand Challenges, we want the UK to be at the forefront of the technology revolution and make Britain fit for the future.”

Ali Amin, CEO and co-founder at UBI Global, said:

“Congratulations to SETsquared for ranking as the world’s top university-managed business incubator again. The partnership’s continued success is testament to the innovation and high level of business support it offers. This has resulted in high economic impact and growth for the companies it works with.”

Simon Bond, SETsquared’s innovation director, sad:

“We’re delighted to be acknowledged once again as the world’s top business incubator and it is an honour to be recognised by UBI Global in this way alongside the best performing university business incubators and accelerator programmes in the world.

“This ranking reflects the commitment of the SETsquared team, a university environment in the UK that embraces innovation and enterprise and, of course, the sheer talent and drive of the entrepreneurs and companies that we have the privilege to work with.”


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