Report reveals Bristol Uni-backed incubator SETsquared’s £15.7bn economic boost to the UK

December 2, 2022

The globally acclaimed University of Bristol-supported business incubator SETsquared has bolstered the UK economy by £15.7bn since its launch 20 years ago, according to an independent report.

SETsquared was set up in 2002 by a small group of research-intensive universities in the South of England, including Bath, with a mission is to help turn innovative sparks into a thriving, commercial businesses. 

It has since been the launchpad for more than 5,000 innovators by providing them with a range of support programmes that help them develop, grow and attract investment and funding.

The research by Warwick Economics and Development estimates 1,417 businesses started with SETsquared’s support are still trading – an increase of almost 50% over the past five years.

SETsquared supported companies, which all started out as student and researcher enterprises, start-ups, spin-outs or scale-ups, have contributed a total of £15.7bn to the economy, according to the report.

It also shows businesses supported by SETsquared will have created 15,600 full-time equivalent jobs by the end of this year.

Some £3.9bn of private and public investment has been raised by SETsquared-supported firms over the past 20 years, with 70% of this raised in the past five years.

As well as demonstrating SETsquared’s economic impact, the report showcases the environmental and social impact of companies it has incubated.

The report highlights this through a number of case studies of companies, showing how they will help reduce carbon emissions, lower the use of diesel, improve the lives of people with chronic conditions such as motor neurone disease and Alzheimer’s, save valuable time for healthcare services, protect us from sophisticated cyber-attacks and improve the electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

SETsquared head of scale-up Karen Brooks said: “It’s really important, particularly in the current economic climate, that we continue to support these high-growth potential businesses.

“As this impact report demonstrates, they go on to create high-value jobs and bring economic impact to our regions in South of England and Wales, and increasingly across the UK.

“In addition, these companies are developing solutions to the major global challenges we face – from tackling chronic diseases to achieving net zero – they will transform the way we live, learn, travel, work, and access healthcare in the future.

“The high level of the economic contribution of these SETsquared-backed companies shows the clear, direct value of the support they have received from SETsquared partner universities and the value that academic collaboration can bring to businesses research and development and subsequent growth.”

SETsquared is now a partnership of six research-intensive universities – Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey.

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