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Five of the top research-based universities in the south of England are joining with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in a ground-breaking initiative to help more new hi-tech businesses to flourish.
The SETsquared Partnership, bringing together Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey universities, has a 12-year track record of helping businesses to start-up and grow.
It is the top university business incubator in Europe and one of the best in the world and has already led to the creation of 8,500 jobs and attracted over a billion pounds in investment.
Supported by the government SETsquared is now keen to expand beyond its current university campuses and has focused on Basingstoke for its first pilot.
With £100,000 support from the borough council, agreed by Cabinet at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday 28 October), SETsquared is proposing to set up a world class incubation hub for hi-tech firms in the town early in the new year.
Based in Basing View, the incubation hub would provide a place where people can meet and network. But even more importantly it would connect local entrepreneurs with experts and academics in the hi-tech field, global companies, sources of finance and support organisations and services to help businesses start up.
This would include mentoring from other high flying entrepreneurs and access to scientific research, software and data storage.
Creating new jobs, the proposal is expected to mean 20 new high growth companies and £20 million of investment to Basingstoke by 2016. There are also opportunities to link the Basingstoke incubator to nationally funded programmes from the UK Space Agency in mobile communications, including the 5G project.
Council Leader Clive Sanders said: “We need to create thousands of new jobs for our growing population. It is important to attract existing businesses but essential that we also grow our own. We want to see new companies setting up home in our area and growing here.
“An incubation hub brings together people who have a good idea with those who have resources and money and those who have expertise in pulling it all together. Basingstoke is already recognised as one of the best places in the country to set up a hi-tech company. This is a great chance to go into partnership with one of the world’s top business development groups to bring exciting new opportunities to Basingstoke.”
SETsquared’s Innovation Director Simon Bond said: “We’re delighted to work with the council on this project to find and grow the next generation of tech start-up companies. This is one of the UK’s hotspots for technology innovation and we’re looking forward to working with the people of Basingstoke and Deane to create more jobs and growth in the borough, building on the strong heritage of engineering and innovation. I’m certain that we’ll be a powerful partnership for the future.”
Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership has already identified Basingstoke as one of four Growth Towns which are key for creating prosperity across this important corridor for scientific and technological growth.
Enterprise M3 Executive Director Kathy Slack said: “This is an exciting development. The area consists of agile, high-growth, knowledge-based businesses with the ability to grow resulting in a swift increase in GVA, with businesses in the Enterprise M3 area currently growing at three times the national average.”
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