News release

Date: 19th July 2013

UK universities the best in Europe at fostering start-ups

SETsquared has been named one of the best incubation systems in Europe and the world.

July 19th, 2013. A partnership of UK universities which has helped businesses secure £34m in investment this year alone is one of the best in Europe at incubating businesses, a survey has revealed.

The University Business Incubator (UBI) Index has listed the SETsquared incubator as the best in Europe, alongside jointly-placed NDRC LaunchPad in the Republic of Ireland. The ranking puts SETsquared fourth in the world, with the only other higher ranking counterparts hailing from the US.

SETsquared, a partnership of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, has given birth to some 1,000 high-tech start ups since its inception 10 years ago. In 2013 alone it has helped companies within its incubator raise £34m in investment and this year saw the sale of one of its alumni businesses, Ubiquisys, to US giant Cisco for $310m. Other successful firms from the SETsquared incubator include the world’s first equity-based crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, and PrimerDesign, which produced the world’s first swine-flu detection kit.

Partnership Director, Graham Harrison, said: “These successes, combined with the UBI Index ranking, are proof that our model works. We have been supporting the UK’s economic growth by championing these innovative start-ups for the last 10 years and, without question, we see the UK’s economy over the next decade being underpinned by the kind of high-tech, start-up businesses being nurtured in our centres.”

SETsquared aims to raise the agenda for wider support for UK tech start-ups at an event in London this year. Its ‘Accelerating Growth’ event, which marks its 10th anniversary, will provide an opportunity for key figures in UK business incubation to discuss what support UK technology start-ups need to achieve growth. Among those who will speak at the event will be Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board.

The event, on November 27, will feature live investor pitches and bring together some of SETsquared’s most successful companies over the last 10 years as well as some of its most exciting tech start-ups.

Among the brand-new companies on show at the event will be Colinked, established by four University of Exeter undergraduates, which last week beat 89 other companies from across the world to win the $50,000 first prize at the world finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup with their ‘SoundSYNK’ music app. The app aims to radically change ho wpeople listen to and share music on mobile devices.

Earlier this summer the SETsquared business incubation model was heralded as a best practice example for entrepreneurial ecosystems in a prestigious paper presented at the first International Entrepreneurship Research Exemplars Conference.


Notes to editors

About the UBI Index

UBI Index is the first ever global index to benchmark performance and best practices of University Business Incubators. It assessed 150 incubators over 22 countries on the following categories:

Category A (Value for the ecosystem)
Job creation, Economy enhancement, Talent retention
Category B (Value for the Client Startups)
Competence development, Access to funds, Network enhancements
Category C (Attractiveness)
Incubator offer, Internal environment, Post incubation performance

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About SETsquared
SETsquared is a collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey which partners in enterprise activities and collectively supports the growth and success of new business opportunities through spin-outs, licensing, incubation and education. The partnership also works with industry through research collaboration and consultancy.

Earlier this year SETsquared was hailed as a ‘best practice’ model for business incubation in a paper presented at the first International Entrepreneurship Research Exemplars Conference. The document, Management, Strategy and Policy suggestions for European academic incubators: the Creation of a Start-ups’ Ecosystem in the South West England, was authored by Angelo Miglietta and Dario Peirone and copies are available via Carswell Gould on the details below.

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For more information, images or interviews please contact:
Laura Downton at Carswell Gould
T: 023 80 238001
E: Laura[at]carswellgould[dot]co[dot]uk

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