SETsquared has been awarded £5million to start a brand new programme for scale-up businesses from the advanced engineering and manufacturing, digital innovation, environmental, sustainable and marine and health and wellbeing sectors from April 2018.

The South West university business incubator, which has already been awarded the accolade of global number one, was awarded the funds as part of £20 million allocation announced by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities & Science, to the first round winners of the Higher Education Funding Council for England‘s (HEFCE’s) Connecting Capability Fund competition.

The fund aims to support universities in working together and with external partners to commercialise research, help deliver the strategy and share good practice and capacity.

“This programme means that we can support these growth businesses with continuing R&D by actively helping with funding opportunities”


Jo Johnson (pictured left) says: ‘The commercialisation of research and stronger working with business forms a key part of our Industrial Strategy, and through the Connecting Capability Fund we are strengthening collaborations between universities and with businesses to enable more ideas to become innovative solutions, boosting the UK economy.

“By building on our reputation as a pioneering nation, and investing an additional £4.7 billion for research and development, we are making sure that the UK remains one of the best places in the world to innovate, do business and create jobs.”

Open to South West scale-ups

With the funding enabling SETsquared to run its own pilot programme, companies from the South West of England are already being invited to express their interest via the SETsquared website.

Simon Bond, the head of SETsquaredSimon Bond (pictured right) SETsquared’s Innovation Director explains: “The funding is open to all scale-up companies, not just existing or former SETsquared companies. We’re working to the Scale-up Institute’s definition of a scale-up company which is companies which have more than ten employees and have experienced 20% growth year on year for 3 years.

“If accepted on to the programme, companies will receive membership to the scale-up programme for 12 months which will include a programme of support including the mentoring, training and funding to able to put together research and development grant funding applications in conjunction with universities – plus access to investors and corporates.”

Rosie Bennett (pictured left), Centre Director at the University of Bath Innovation Centre adds: “At SETsquared Bath we recognise that innovation activities can be hard to sustain for growth companies that are in scale-up mode when sales and expansion targets become a primary focus.

“This programme means that we can support these growth businesses with continuing R&D by actively helping with funding opportunities and matching them with research collaboration partners from SETsquared universities. It’s a win-win!”

To find out more and get involved, head to the SETsquared website. To stay tuned to the latest news, you can follow them on Twitter here: @SETsquared.

Alice Whale