Setsquared logoThe SETsquared business incubator – which is a partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Surrey and Southampton – has been hailed as one of the best in the world in a new report by UBI Index. The 70-page dossier – The Best Practices at Top University Business Incubators – analyses the top performing global university incubators and what makes them so successful. The SETsquared incubator is ranked joint best in the UK and fourth best globally.

Dhruv Bhalti, Co-Founder of UBI Index said: “Other incubators could learn from the absolute focus of SETsquared on its clients and its commitment to providing value to its startups. That single-minded focus on the entrepreneur is what makes a champion incubation programme, one that SETsquared clearly is. Another lesson to take from SETsquared is to engage with research-intensive universities. This is something that contributes to the quantity and quality of deal flow, which is the heart of an incubation programme.”

SETsquared was formed in 2002 and runs business incubation centres in all five of its partner universities where it offers high tech startups intense business mentoring, networking opportunities and flexible office space. So far, SETsquared as helped over 1,000 high tech startups attract £1.2 billion in investment.

Karen Brooks, Project Director at SETsquared, says she believes the key to the incubator’s success has been the way it treats each of its clients as unique. She said: “A lot of the incubators today are running what I call a sausage machine where if you attend a fixed incubator programme, you’ll come out the other end either successful or not successful. We at SETsquared are not prescriptive that way with any of our companies. Since all of them have very different needs and are in different situations. Our job is to identify those needs and build a customised program to provide them maximum assistance.”

David Maher Roberts