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Cardiff joins SETsquared Partnership

10 September 2021

Cardiff University has joined the SETsquared Partnership – the world’s top-ranked university business incubator network.

Cardiff becomes the sixth SETsquared partner, alongside the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. SETsquared has a strong track record in providing highly acclaimed enterprise support programmes to help turn ideas into thriving businesses and to facilitate the growth of successful companies.

Launched in 2002, the network hosts and supports spin-outs, start-up and scale-up companies and university-to-business knowledge exchange.

The partnership has backed over 5,000 entrepreneurs to date, helping them raise £2.72bn in investment, generating £8.6bn in economic impact and creating 20,000 jobs.

Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, said: “We are delighted at the prospect of joining a network that has been consistently ranked as the world’s number one business incubator. We have a shared ethos: to generate positive impact and economic growth from our research activities, grow social prosperity and to give our enterprising students every support with their new business ideas.

“Our alignment with SETsquared coincides perfectly with our investment in the Cardiff Innovation Campus, where our own in-house incubation space - Cardiff Innovations@sbarc – will open this winter. It will add significantly to our existing innovation capacity at the Medicentre on Heath Park, helping us to build on our outstanding track record for turning research into real-world economic and social enterprises.”

Cardiff University has been collaborating with SETsquared since 2018 as part of the Research England and HEFCW-funded Scale-Up Programme. This programme gave the partner universities the opportunity to work together on activities such as the launch of the SETsquared healthy ageing innovation campaign at the NHS Expo.

Cardiff – the first university to join the network since 2011 – originally forged closer links with SETsquared through participation in the Scale-Up Programme, co-funded by Research England and HEFCW.

Simon Bond, Innovation Direction at SETsquared, said: “We are excited to welcome Cardiff on our joint mission to turn innovation into thriving businesses that drive economic growth within the South West and across the UK.

“Cardiff’s research strength augment and complement those already represented in the Partnership and position us to maximise the impact of the combined research portfolios of all six university partners - for social and economic benefit and to provide support to academics, students and local businesses to instil an entrepreneurial spirit across our regions.”

Cardiff’s appointment to the network builds on close links with Bath, Bristol and Exeter through the GW4 Alliance, and historic Russell Group ties with Bristol, Exeter, Southampton.

Cardiff’s future SETsquared activities will focus on diversifying the University’s innovation and commercialisation pipeline, maximising research and funding outcomes from major capital and research investments on the Innovation Campus, and training and supporting early stages of entrepreneurialism to encourage academics and researchers who are ‘enterprise-curious.’

Cardiff has been creating successful and sustainable spin-out companies for decades, consistently securing income of over £2m pa from IP licensing activity.

Octopus Ventures has twice ranked Cardiff as third in the UK for its track record in converting high quality research to flourishing businesses.

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