New incubator network to boost UK startups

A national network has launched to connect the UK’s business incubators and accelerators.

The Centre for Entrepreneurs think tank (CFE) has launched a network to connect Britain’s incubators and accelerators – a group of over 350 business support programmes that collectively support over 7,000 entrepreneurs per year.

The Incubator and Accelerator Network will work with its members to increase the scale and impact of their programmes so more entrepreneurs across the UK have access to high quality business support.

The network launch follows the release of a CFE report in April suggesting universities can boost local graduate retention, job creation and economic growth in their regions by providing business incubation to graduate entrepreneurs. While the network will be open to all incubators and accelerators, it will focus primarily on those which are university-owned and university-affiliated.

The network will run a range of events and initiatives including an annual two-day conference, regional best practice workshops, and international delegations to world-leading incubators and accelerators. The network will also survey members to measure their collective impact, create expert submissions to government/parliament consultations, and undertake media campaigns to promote business incubation.

The network is sponsored by NatWest, which will host the inaugural conference in its London conference centre in February 2018. Several leading university incubator managers have joined the advisory board to help build the network.

Matt Smith, director of CFE said:
“Incubators and accelerators play a crucial role in helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. This network will ensure members are fully up-to-date with the latest support practices, business finance options and impact measurements, allowing them to expand and help more entrepreneurs.”

Steve Dougan, head of graduate enterprise, Teesside University said:
“As a new incubator, we need to connect with other incubators to learn best practice and share innovations that we’ve created. Most importantly, we see the value in sharing data and research to help prove the impact of incubation. The Incubator and Accelerator Network is an important network for the future”.

Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise, NatWest said:
“We have a longstanding commitment to support and encourage entrepreneurship and we understand the unique challenges often faced when starting and running your own business. We are proud to sponsor the Incubator and Accelerator Network which will encourage entrepreneurs to grow and develop their enterprise.”

Read full press release here.