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University of Exeter business incubator partnership set to contribute £26.9 billion to UK economy and 22,000 jobs by 2030

Milkalyser board members (Toby Mottram, centre)

The SETsquared Partnership, the global no.1 business incubation and start-up growth acceleration network, comprising five research-intensive universities: Exeter, Bath, Southampton, Bristol and Surrey, will contribute £26.9 billion to the UK economy by 2030, independent research undertaken by Warwick Economics and Development (WECD) has found.




Key findings from the report:

  • It is estimated that 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. This is 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.

SETsquared operates five incubators on, or near, each partner university’s campus. SETsquared Exeter operates programmes at two prime locations on either side of Exeter: the University of Exeter Innovation Centre and the Exeter Science Park. The centres have dedicated business and technology support staff, experts in residence, business mentors and a range of events, workshops and seminars.

Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support at SETsquared Exeter, 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.”

One of the incubator’s local success stories is Exeter Science Park based Milkalyser. Milkalyser is a spin out of eCow Ltd, which was founded in 2007 to develop technology that monitors the health and productivity of dairy cows. From eCow came Milkalyser, a new way to detect the ovulation and pregnancy in dairy cows.

With the support of SETsquared, Milkalyser has raised £1 million to develop their dairy cow management goals, including £500,000 funding from Mercia Fund Management, an early stage technology investor and another £500,000 grant from Innovate UK.

Speaking about SETsquared’s support, Professor Toby Mottram, Milkalyser’s Founder and Chief Engineer, added:

“The support of SETsquared Exeter has been invaluable in getting the company to where it is today. It has taught us to present ourselves professionally for funding applications and to grow the business in ways that are appropriate to current markets.”

To download a copy of the full WECD report, click here

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