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The University of Southampton

SETsquared partnership to contribute £26.9 billion to UK economy

Published: 11 September 2018
Radiation detection technology.
Radiation detection technology developed by Southampton-based Symetrcia.

The SETsquared Partnership - the global no.1 business incubation and start-up growth acceleration network - will contribute £26.9 billion to the UK economy by 2030.

SETsquared is a partnership of five research-intensive universities - Southampton, Bath, Bristol, Exeter and Surrey - and operates five incubators on, or near, each partner institution’s campus.

Independent research undertaken by Warwick Economics & Development (WECD) has found that:

  • An estimated 965 businesses were supported by SETsquared between 2015 to 2017, with the partnership providing 3,645 business assists since 2002;
  • The Gross Value Added contribution of supported businesses each year indicates that they have directly contributed a total of £5.8 billion to the UK economy between 2002-17;
  • The level of employment supported by these businesses is estimated at 10,900 jobs in 2017 and projected to rise to 22,200 by 2030;
  • Projecting the forward impact of the programme, assuming the level of support continues at the current rate, supported companies could rise to 6,650 and contribute a further £12.4 billion to the economy between 2018-2030;
  • Including an estimate of supply chain impacts of the businesses, the cumulated direct and indirect impacts on the UK economy are estimated to be £8.6 billion by 2017 and a further £18.3 billion by 2030.

The Southampton SETsquared centre, which is located at the University of Southampton Science Park, provides business coaches and mentors, access to support from professional services firms, access to investors and seminars and workshops on a range of business topics.

One of the incubator’s local success stories is Southampton-based Symetrica. Symetrica has benefitted from multiple forms of SETsquared support including investor readiness, investment showcases, networking and business review panels. The business which has demonstrated impressive year on year growth, exports its UK developed and patented technology around the globe.

David Bream, programme director at SETsquared Southampton, said:

“The findings from the report show the important role incubators, such as SETsquared, play in nurturing new businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation in the UK, as well as the positive impact this has on the UK economy through job creation and GVA contribution. With the expansion of SETsquared’s support to scale-up companies, and the significant growth we have seen in the number of start-ups we are supporting, we hope to exceed the projections outlined by the WECD in its latest report.”     

Speaking about SETsquared’s support, Heddwyn Davies, CEO of Symetrica, added:

“SETsquared provides a supportive but challenging environment to somebody starting a small business. It makes the management of the company think carefully about what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it, and enables them to have that critiqued by experienced mentors. Through involvement in SETsquared’s showcase events, Symetrica was able to attract investors who have continued to support the business through its growth.”  

Earlier in 2018, the SETsquared partnership 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.

Click here to download a copy of the full WECD report.



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