Startup incubation and acceleration: the national picture

A new report released by NESTA has identified 205 incubators and 163 accelerators active in the UK. These support an estimated 3,450 and 3,660 new businesses a year respectively, with UK accelerators providing an estimated £33m annually in start-up investment. The report, commissioned by BEIS and produced in partnership with the UK Science Park Association (UKSPA) provides another piece of evidence highly relevant to current policy debates – not least the Industrial Strategy Green Paper – around stimulating, supporting and growing early stage companies. Presenting a national picture, the report sits well alongside the regional ‘deep dives’ provided by Science & Innovation audits.

The report findings demonstrate the importance of public funding for innovation outside London and the South East, and in some sectors such as Agritech and Transport. It also highlights the role of (public funded) universities as private investors in regional innovation spaces – particularly incubators, which are more widely dispersed across the UK and often located close to a university or in a university city. Many of PraxisUnico/AURIL’s members are involved in incubator support linked to knowledge exchange activities and although this report coveres all start-ups (not just those emerging from universities or research organisations) it demonstrates the contribution of the sector in providing physical space and support for enterprise growth. Finally, with pressure on the private sector to increase levels of R&D it is interesting to see report pointing to a rise in corporate accelerators which puts often large corporates close to very small, innovative businesses with potentially mutual benefits.

The report launched shortly ahead of UKSPA’s annual conference, which this year takes place in York. PraxisUnico/AURIL is delighted to be supporting the programme with a number of sessions which aim to increase understanding of the KEC profession outside our core audience.  Widening understanding and encouraging discussion between closely aligned parts of the innovation system is something that we are committed to and aspire to do more of as we move into the next phase of supporting the UK’s KEC profession.

You can download a copy of the report from NESTA’s website here.

For more information on the UKSPA conference, click here