Ben Shorrock, managing director of TechSPARK, shares the latest news from the cluster.
The last decade has seen phenomenal growth in the Bristol & Bath tech community and TechSPARK with it.
The area went from a small ecosystem to hosting 1,000’s businesses, including some of the most successful in Europe. Success stories like Graphcore, Huboo, Immersive Labs, Open Bionics, UltraLeap, Ziylo and Seccl are changing the industries they work in and the world with it.
In addition, we’ve seen a flourishing of incubators and accelerators like FutureSpace, Pervasive Media Studio, Science Creates, Quantum Technology Centre and the Bristol Robotics Lab Incubator. They’ve built international reputations offering world-class support, SETsquared for example, they have been named the world’s No 1 University Incubator for five years running.
It’s no surprise then that Bristol is named as Top 20 European Tech Hub in Atomico’s 2020 State of European Tech Report outpacing hubs such as Manchester, Tallinn, Oxford and Vienna.
To keep being a success, the Bristol & Bath tech community has to keep evolving, and we at TechSPARK have to evolve with it.
We started as a small band of entrepreneurs based in Bath who wanted better connect with other businesses doing exciting things and help shout about the awesome things happening in the area.
Connecting and celebrating is still at the core of what we do, but now, with a team of super-passionate people, we also deliver projects which enable investment, train people to work in tech, showcase the diversity of the community, find talent and much more.
In the last few months, we’ve doubled down on supporting our ecosystems with dedicated community managers in Bath, Swindon and Wilts and our new Cyber Manager (We’re recruiting! message me if you want a job!). Our community managers are embedded in each area and understand what’s needed to strengthen it.
TechSPARK is growing
Offering bespoke support per community isn’t the only thing we’ve been doing.
It’s increasingly clear that to be relevant on a global stage; you need to be a community of a size and scale that warrants it. That’s why TechSPARK is now actively supporting communities from Swindon to Swansea to build a leading, globally relevant tech community.
This area has over 3 million people, 18,000 businesses in tech & digital, and in the last 12 months, over £750 million of investment has been raised, according to Beauhurst. So it’s able to stand on an international stage and be counted.
So how will we be doing this? Firstly, we have a super new website to publish news, features, jobs, and events for each community. These will all be aggregated to the TechSPARK Group site, but it means we can offer each area the level of granular information needed to celebrate its achievements and connect its community.
Secondly, we’re appointing community managers in each place to support their area, truly understand what’s required and how we can best enable growth.
Finally, as we scale, we’re maturing our governance to ensure TechSPARK has a long term future. We’re thrilled to have appointed as our Chair Nick Sturge MBE, one of Bristol’s best-known tech figures. Nick is helping us build a business board with all skills needed to help us grow. Each community will also have their own steering boards, ensuring we focus on bespoke needs for those places as we progress.
I’m really excited about what the future holds but if you want to be part of the journey from writing blogs, speaking at events or perhaps sitting on your communities steering board get in touch!