Start-up scheme will help generate £1.3bn for UK economy
A new independent report published has estimated that companies supported by the SetSquared initiative will contribute £1.3bn to the UK.
Established in 2018, SETsquared’s Scale-Up Programme supports innovative, growing businesses to raise public and private investment to collaborate on research and development with its six partner universities Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey.
The report also estimates that the Scale-Up Programme has helped:
- raise £72m collaborative R&D funding for Scale-Up member companies
- raise £14.2m collaborative funding for the SETsquared partner universities
- secure 111 funded projects, giving a 35.5% success rate of winning grants, compared to an average success rate of 10%
- companies secure £713m investment
- members more than double their number of employees – with an increase of 260% between 2018 and 2023 (from 300 employees in 2018 to 780 in 2023).
Funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, the programme has a membership base of 450 UK-wide innovation-led companies across key sectors, including digital innovation, health and wellbeing, advanced engineering and manufacturing and environment, sustainability, marine and maritime.
For every £1 of funding, the Scale-Up Programme’s return on investment is £7.50.
Alice Frost, director of knowledge exchange at Research England says: “Leveraging their collective capabilities, SETsquared’s Scale-Up programme has demonstrated how significant commercial outcomes can be achieved by universities working together as a cluster, building a concentration of opportunity and activity.
“The project has provided one of the models of leading-edge commercialisation collaborative practice supported by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, and its insights will contribute to our development of national policy evidence and institutional best practice materials.”
The report draws on a survey conducted with member companies, which has revealed that between 2018 and 2023, member companies have secured £713m private investment, with 4 in 10 businesses reporting that the Scale-Up Programme has helped them secure investment. This rises to 6 in 10 businesses within the environmental sustainability sector.
The survey also indicates that the programme has made a substantial contribution to employment growth among member businesses participating in the Programme. The total number of employees across businesses supported by the Programme has more than doubled, with an increase of 260% between 2018 and 2023.
Anthony Bennett, chief operating officer of Ecomar Propulsion, a Scale-Up member said: “The Scale-Up Programme has moved us on probably five years beyond where we dreamed we would be at this stage. We now have 15 people in our workshops, producing one-megawatt internal ship systems for large vessels, whereas three years ago, it was two men in a tent on the driveway. Ecomar Propulsion could not be the company it is today without the work of SETsquared and the University of Exeter.”
Karen Brooks, head of scale-up, SETsquared says: “The Scale-Up Programme has proven to be a highly successful model to facilitate university and harder-to-engage SME R&D collaborations. It has created a dynamic market where researchers and companies can find the right partner to work with, greatly benefiting both parties. Academics need to demonstrate the impact of their research, and companies need university-grade research to continually develop and verify their cutting-edge innovations.”
“The stats, however, only tell one side of the story. Behind the figures lie many examples of world-leading innovations that will one day transform how we live and work, access healthcare, and significantly contribute to meeting NetZero targets. I’m incredibly proud of our part in setting them on this growth trajectory. Securing investment and improved business performance now is highly likely to have longer-term impacts on their business growth terms in creating further jobs and GVA within the economy.”