In last week’s article, we announced our nomination for the Tech South West awards. This week we thought we’d share a bit more detail about Tech South West and their recent survey of the South West Startup Scene.

TECH SOUTH WEST

Tech South West is a member-led organisation joining the dots in the South West Tech sector. They connect organisations and cluster groups for region-wide collaborations, host the annual Tech South West Awards which we will be attending (more information on our previous article). They also run STEMM programmes and live events, showcase opportunities and jobs in the sector, commission reports and run surveys and so much more. In June 2021, they arranged a South West Tech Leadership Forum focussed on startup companies in the South West and thought how the sector can do more to help them thrive. Many tech leaders across the region came together for an online summit to share their perspectives, solutions and help plan for the sector going forward. The main focus of the report are the lone innovators, the entrepreneurs and the people with ideas who need a hand helping them become a reality. In the UK, 200,00 companies start up each year and the tech sector is the fastest growing part of the South West economy. 
startup studio small

SURVEY

The results of this survey show that The South West tech startup scene has incredible potential but support still needs to improve, particularly when it comes to funding.

  • Over 90% of respondents rated the potential of the ecosystem as either very good or good.
  • The issues that are being faced with helping startups grow is the access of support, talent and in particular funding. 81% of respondents rated access to funding their startups as fair or worse.  

The survey tells us that the South West has incredible talent and the funding is available. It is access to the funding that is lacking, as none of the members of the Tech Leadership Forum voted the current support as excellent.

There also seems to be a disconnect between the education and tech sectors; this needs to be addressed in order to collaborate and support entrepreneurship.

Finally, there needs to be a solution to connect available resources with founders and the startups who need them.

Surveys

SCIENCE PARK

There are a number of science parks in the region that have a wide range of tech activity and collaboration. Plymouth Science Park is an example that’s providing a unique tech ecosystem in South West Devon. It provides high levels of business support for the community and forges collaborative relationships across Plymouth and beyond.  Local universities such as Exeter University and Plymouth University and research centres are the heart of the alchemy in the area of pioneering innovation in the health tech, marine tech, engineering and clean tech sectors.

FUNDING

Funding is available for the companies who know how to receive the help, but it needs to be made more accessible for startups. Tech South West is establishing a Funding Advisory Board for the region to bring together investors, finance professionals and business strategists to provide a one-stop shop for founders to go to when they need funding. The Advisory Board will provide greater clarity for the startups with their options, funding landscape and support around positioning themselves to receive funds. The British Business Bank is one of the companies supporting this initiative. 

BUSINESS SUPPORT

Tech South West launched StartUp Studio in early 2021 to support early stage tech companies in the region in honing their propositions and attracting investment. The programme is delivered by Activate and Skowt Consulting, with expert guidance provided to the startups from partnering companies in the areas they need, such as funding, marketing, accountancy, business strategy and recruitment.

The Investment Activator Programme, run by TechSPARK, is designed to support companies that are raising equity investment in the South West. Briony Philips, investment activator at TechSPARK, said: “The Investment Activator Programme is an initiative we launched in 2019 to invigorate the investor community and help increase the flow of capital into the region. We have seen thousands of people get involved in our pitch competitions, engage with our content-based events and connect with investors through our activities.

To get involved with the Tech South West  go to:
techsouthwest.co.uk/join/

Kathryn White
Kathryn White
Head of Product & Innovation