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Entrepreneurs and start-ups in Exeter get first look at big data opportunities

Entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses from the South West learnt about opportunities in ‘big data’ at a free networking event at the newly-opened Exeter Science Park yesterday (4 November).

Over 60 people registered to attend the Next Tech Wave event, which was jointly held by SETsquared, Europe’s top university business incubator, and the UK Space Agency. The session brought together some of the country’s leading space-related big data SMEs to explore opportunities for start-ups developing new infrastructure, software and services.

Big data has a £10billion global market, including next generation opportunities within the Internet of Things, retail and health research sectors.

Adrian Braine, entrepreneur in residence at SETsquared, said: “It was wonderful to see such a packed audience at our first Next Tech Wave event in the region. The event was a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses from across the South West to understand how space data can be used to develop products and services and I’m confident that everyone who attended left feeling inspired about the potential of their businesses.”

A hand-picked panel and selection of speakers included representatives from companies such as the Met Office, Goonhilly Earth Station, Democrata and Argans Ltd, that are leading the way with big data and are well-placed to explain the opportunities to innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs. Topics discussed at the event included how big data and small companies mix, 4D visualisation of weather forecasts, and international shipping: big data and predictive analytics.

Adrian added: “There are some great chances for business here, especially as far as big data analytics go. It gives us access to new sources of information including sensors, websites, open data and satellite-sourced information and imagery.”

Robin Jackson, centre director at SETsquared’s innovation centre in Exeter, said: “The Next Tech Wave event was a huge success for SETsquared in the region and it was fantastic to be able to bring it to our new home at the Science Park. We know there is a vast amount of technical talent in the area and we hope to see many more businesses taking advantage of the opportunities big data offers.”

Colin Baldwin, UK Space Gateway programme manager at UK Space Agency, said: “Many companies wouldn’t necessarily think of the space sector as an answer to help them with developing technology, but we wanted to show what working with the sector can do for businesses. It’s fantastic to be able to encourage as many entrepreneurs as possible to take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate this exciting new technology into their start-ups in ways they might not have considered.”

The event was held at the newly-opened Exeter Science Park and was free for entrepreneurs, investors, start-ups, innovation advisors and tech companies.

SETsquared and the UK Space Agency will be holding a Next Tech Wave event in Southampton on 20 January. People wanting to attend are advised to register early to avoid disappointment as places are limited.

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