University of Exeter Enterprise Zone (UEEZ) project helps innovative Devon-based start-ups and SMEs to achieve accelerated high growth through the provision of expert business support.
The UEEZ was originally established as part of the national University Enterprise Zone project, funded by the Research England Development (RED) Fund, with the expressed aim of “strengthening links between the research and expertise developed in universities, and ensuring they further align with the needs of local business.” The success of the RED funded UEEZ project was influential in securing the ERDF funding in Spring 2021 enabling the SETsquared Exeter Business Accelerator Support programme to extend its reach and impact beyond Exeter and East Devon, to the wider Devon region.
Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the current UEEZ project, (which runs until the Spring of 2023) improves the opportunities for innovative Devon-based start-ups and SMEs that have the aspiration and potential to achieve high growth and to accelerate their development through the provision of expert business support.
The UEEZ project aims to improve the opportunities for innovative STEMM, Devon-based start-ups and SMEs with the aim of achieving accelerated high growth by providing:
- Incubation space
- Access to a technology lab and high tech equipment
- Comprehensive business acceleration and management support
- Long term independent mentoring scheme
- Access to independent and professional business support in the following areas: legal, IP, finance, tax, insurance expertise, R&D, team development and business strategy
- Networking opportunities
- Co-working space
- Peer support
- Valuable interdisciplinary connections and collaborations
Further opportunities for eligible businesses include:
- One to one meetings with an Entrepreneur in Residence
- Entrepreneur’s Programme
- Business Fundamentals course
- Strategy and skills course
- Founder’s club
- Bite-sized training sessions
- Coaching from business mentors
- Business review panels
- Interim Executive placements
- Investor readiness training sessions
- Support developing a pitch for investors
- The opportunity to pitch at the SETsquared Investment Showcase
Members of the UEEZ project will have the opportunity to engage with programmes and activities available from the wider SETsquared Partnership, which is a collaboration of six research intensive Universities across the South of England. The partner Universities - Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey encourage the development of best practice and knowledge-sharing between the members across the 4 core areas of activity: Student Entrepreneurship, Research Commercialisation, Business Acceleration and Scale up.
In addition, businesses have the opportunity to join consortia with large companies, SMEs and Universities to bid for large scale collaborative research and development funding. They will also have the opportunity to join the SETsquared Accelerating Growth Investment Showcase, an annual event which selects 20 businesses from across the SETsquared partnership members to pitch for investment.
The UEEZ project is receiving up to £712,107 of funding from the England European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014- 2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) are the Managing Authorities for European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund funding through the Growth Programme, funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development. By investing in projects the funds will help to support innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/europeangrowth-funding.