Grow your business

Growing or scaling a business comes with its own set of challenges.

You may have a team, an idea, a product. How do you take it to the next phase – meet the right people, find the right support, get access to the facilities and resources you need? Perhaps you need space. Or maybe mentors, academic expertise, lawyers, R&D, investment. 

Business acceleration and incubation - run by University of Bristol

The Bristol SETsquared Centre, ranked in 2015 as the world’s best university backed business incubator, is located in Engine Shed, based next to Temple Meads station.  It provides the following for high-tech, high-growth member businesses, from inside and outside the University:

  • Coaching, mentoring, business review panels, skills workshops to help develop your business
  • Access to professional service firms, 'mock boards', investor readiness training and events, shared or dedicated office space and free meeting rooms

Engine Shed provides iconic meeting room, seminar and networking space at commercial rates as well as co-working space and use of the Business Lounge for current members – including all academic staff from the universities of Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa and UWE. It also delivers an extensive amount of project work to support long-term, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Partner incubators and programmes

The University has a number of partnerships within the city-region who deliver other forms of business incubation or business support: 

  • Bristol and Bath Science Park - space and facilities for science and technology businessess large and small, located near the M4 and M5 motorways. 
  • BRL Incubator - within the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), the 3500sqm state-of-the-art UK centre of excellence for multi-disciplinary robotics research on the UWE campus - a joint venture between the University of Bristol and UWE.
  • Pervasive Media Studio - residencies for artists, creative companies, technologists and academics exploring experience design and creative technology. The Studio is a part of Watershed, run in collaboration with the University of Bristol and UWE. It includes the Network for Creative Enterprise.
  • Unit DX - located in central Bristol, Unit DX provides flexible laboratory space, offices and instrumentation access for scientific companies. It also offers science-focused business support in partnership with The Bristol SETsquared Centre.

Other incubators and programmes in the West of England

The University of Bristol, through Engine Shed's work in developing the Scale Up ecosystem, is an active connector of business support facilities programmes, such as

  • Future Space - situated within the West of England University Enterprise Zone in South Gloucestershire, this offers a range of shared and dedicated laboratories, co-woring facilities and office space designed specifically for scientists and innovators of the future, with specialist facilities and access to business support, research and funding schemes
  • Spike Design Spike Design in Bristol is Spike Island's affordable co-working space providing incubation and collaborative opportunities for creative businesses, including designers (graphc, product, digital and interactive), architects, journalists, illustrators, film-makers and photographers. Housed in a former tea packing factory, Spkie Island is now home to extensive gallery spaces, Spike Island Cafe, over 70 artists working in studios, over 50 business tenants and more. This includes a branch of the the Network for Creative Enterprise.
  • The Hive - create a buzz for your business at The Hive in Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset's exciting hub for enterprise. The Hive combines modern, flexible, affordable office space and meeting rooms in a great location with a full range of business support and advice services on hand from NSEA and its partners. 
  • Entrepreneurial Spark - based in central Bristol, with free space, the focus of Entrepreneurial Spark is squarely on the individual, developing behaviours which allow for that serious business acceleration and growth. Enablers work shoulder to shoulder with Entrepreneur Development Managers from NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank who utilise local ecosystems to help make entrepreneurs credible, backable and investable.
  • Bath SETsquared Innovation Centre - based in central Bath, the Innovation Centre actively supports entrepreneurs, start-up and scale-up companies across a wide range high tech and high growth sectors including sustainable technologies, digital platforms, advanced engineering and social enterprise.
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