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SETsquared CONFERENCE 2021

25 – 29 January 2021






Bristol Entrepreneurship Catalyst

Entrepreneurship-related activities at the University of Bristol have grown significantly aimed at both staff and students, and within multiple sectors and disciplines. There is, however, a lack of coordination leading to inefficiencies, stakeholder confusion, gaps and missed opportunities. The Bristol Entrepreneurship Project is creating a guided entrepreneurial ecosystem, using both existing and new activities, to support founders in the transition of ideas into ventures. The core team of Steve Edwards (SETsquared incubator), Julian Jantke and Jaci Barnett (RED Commercialisation), supported by Marty Reid (Engine Shed), Musty Rampuri (Enterprise Services) and Rob Taffinder (Careers) have developed a business and sustainability plan for the ecosystem while undertaking their normal jobs. This has never been attempted before at this scale and scope and the Project has already managed to align many groups from across RED and the broader university, within and outside faculty structures.

Business & Commercialisation Fellows Cohort, University of Southampton & University of Surrey

B&C Fellows invisaged to build a cohort of ECRs to develop their skills to succeed in their careers. Have brought researcher insight and fresh thinking to our approaches. They are our Innovation Ambassadors and the embedded are becoming the “first line” innovation support within departments and really accelerating culture change.

Working together & independently on projects: Responsible innovation; Seminars; Guides to commercialisation (inc Software & AI; Social Good); KEC and more.

Soton Fellows: Jaimie Ellis & PK Senyo (ESRC); Miguel Massot Campos & George Devitt (EPSRC) supported by Di Galpin, David Woolley, Paul Wilkinson, Lindsay Smith, Heidi Benge, Maria Durkin & Kerrie Graham
Surrey Fellows: Matthew Taggart & Stella Totti (EPSRC) supported by Faraz Rizvi, Ambi Batra, Will Mortimore, Ieuan French, Elise Cant, Dan Bance, Jenny Ritchie, Caroline Flemming, Kat Mack (Surrey)

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Enterprising Women, SETsquared Bristol

SETsquared Bristol’s Enterprising Women preincubation programme, funded by NatWest, was delivered by the team over 2020 and had to be significantly adjusted to deliver under lockdown. The programme received over 80 applications for 18 places, which were assigned to innovative early-stage women-led businesses. The programme, billed as high impact, low engagement, included 3 exclusive workshops on business planning, market segmentation and accessing funding, and a holistically matched mentor for each business. Businesses also had access to SETsquared Bristol’s Advisors in Residence, workshops and network, alongside NatWest’s crowdfunding and PR support. The programme culminated with a blended virtual/live pitch event, which was promoted by our marketing networks profiling the 18 businesses, of which 73% of them were already generating revenue. The programme dually undertook good faith, equality, diversity and inclusion work, and generated a pipeline of women founders applying to SETsquared.

Enterprising Women Showcase celebrates new innovative Bristol businesses



IKEEP Project Team

The IKEEP project kicked off at the start of September 2020 being led by a team in Exeter with support from colleagues at Bath, Bristol and Surrey.

While not being without challenges in the contracting side of things, the Project team, led by Korneel Verhaeghe with Amber Strong and Mark Allinson, have been able get off to a flying start on the operational side.

Over the course of 2 years the project will deliver training to some 800 students and coordinate 160 KE projects with teams of 3 students.

Despite the challenges presented by the Covid situation the team were able to get a pilot training programme up and running before Christmas with close to 80 student participants and the first group of placements will take place in February.

On top of this more than 300 students have already signed up to take part in future training and projects and IKEEP is well positioned to be a really attractive and valuable addition to the student experience

Paul Forster, SETsquared Bristol

Paul Forster and the SETsquared Bristol team have taken our New Enterprise Competition (NEC) from strength to strength. From collaborating on mentor contacts, to allowing NEC candidates at our Growth stage to access exclusive access to their Advisers in Residence.

This new initiative originated from working closely with Paul, SETsquared Bristol’s diversity advocate and champion, to help us improve the gender diversity of applicants to the competition. Helping us move it from a pure business plan competition to a 5-month support programme. The access to the Advisers in Residence has strengthened our partnership and collaboration, whilst improving the likelihood of all of our candidates having the right level of knowledge, networks and opportunities to grow their businesses and themselves.

Thank you to Paul and to the SETsquared Bristol team and we look forward to our continued collaboration on this programme and other new initiatives in the future.

SETsquared Incubation Centre, SETsquared Southampton

SETsquared Southampton’s well-established partnership with Southampton Science Park was further cemented with the launch of superb new facilities in November 2020.

The new SETsquared Incubation Centre at the Science Park responds to the needs of SETsquared clients requiring a productive place to work and scale at pace within a prestigious, commercially focused setting.

It equips start-ups and early-stage businesses with socially distanced workstations, superfast broadband, collaboration and breakout spaces, dedicated kitchen, and access to the full range of on-site facilities and wellbeing spaces that Southampton Science Park offers. Tiered membership provides ultimate flexibility, enabling access to the facility for as little as £100 per month.

The combined SETsquared/Science Park team expects to drive greater awareness of the benefits of business acceleration, while physically opening up the opportunity to more high growth potential South Coast businesses.

University of Surrey Student Enterprise funded Digital Internship Programme

Our new Digital Internship Programme was developed after philanthropic funding was received back in May with the only directive being to help improve outcomes for our students and businesses in the changing economic times. We recognised that SMEs and local charities needed support more than ever and graduating students were facing an unprecedentedly difficult time to join the job market.

We imagined and rolled out this hugely impactful programme in a matter of weeks, providing exciting paid opportunities to dispirited graduates and delivering fully-funded, skilled, remote team members to 10 organisations in our University and local communities at a crunch time.

See the latter half of this article:

Best New Initiative – Voting is now closed


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