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

SETsquared is currently ranked top university business incubator in the world

The SETsquared Partnership, the global no.1 business incubation and start-up growth acceleration network, comprising five research-intensive universities: Surrey, Bath, Southampton, Bristol and Exeter, will contribute £26.9 billion to the UK economy by 2030, independent research undertaken by Warwick Economics & 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 Surrey is hosted by the Surrey Research Park, a major centre of excellence in technology, science, health and engineering. The Surrey centre offers 40 desks in a shared incubation space as well as access to grow in space within the Surrey Technology Centre. Other benefits include regular access to in-house entrepreneurs in residence, one-to-one mentoring, support from professional service firms and strong links into the University of Surrey.

Caroline Fleming, head of incubation at SETsquared Surrey, 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 Surrey-based TISICS, which was established in 2005 and has gone on to successfully raise £1.2M investment. The company develops and manufactures weight-saving fibre reinforced metal composites for high performance aerospace, space and energy system components.

Speaking about SETsquared’s support, Stephen Kyle-Henney, CEO of TISICS, added:

"SETsquared has helped me develop my commercial understanding, which is essential in running a business however good the technology is. Notably SETsquared managed funding support for TISICS leading to the development of satellite pressure vessel technology and over £3M in contracted work since 2011.”

2018 has seen TISCS start the transition from R&D to products with RFQs for space components with the potential for over £20M in revenue of the next five years.

To download a copy of the full WECD report, click





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About SETsquared

SETsquared, the global number one business incubator, is a long-standing partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey which specialises in growing high-tech start-ups through its incubation programme and other business acceleration services. SETsquared provides mentoring, access to investors and corporate innovators and a wide range of industry experts through its network and training programmes.

Its business incubation programme is ranked by the University Business Incubator Index as the best in the world and has supported over 3,500 high-tech start-ups to grow and raise more than a £1.5bn of investment.

Independent research carried out by Warwick Economics estimates the economic impact of SETsquared member companies to be £8.6bn to date, and rising to £26.9 billion by 2030, with the creation of 22,000 jobs.




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