NEWS21 August 2023

Surrey’s Digital Business Acceleration Hub creates lasting economic and entrepreneurial legacy

Dexory team members

The Digital Business Acceleration Hub (DBAH), an ERDF-funded programme led by SETsquared Surrey between 2017 to 2020, has proven to be a vital springboard for participating companies to raise significant investment (over £80m) and wider economic and entrepreneurial impact.

In total, 270 start-ups participated in the Entrepreneurs Programme, a two-day intensive workshop to develop and pitch their business model, with 100 of these companies then receiving ongoing support through business acceleration hubs in Basingstoke, Farnborough, Guildford, and Woking.

From apps to AI, cybersecurity to robotics, it was tailored to meet the needs of early-stage digital start-ups, which received support to shape their business model for growth and success. It was set up to address a previously fragmented local innovation support infrastructure, which had led to variations in innovation uptake, sector development and economic performance.

The wide-ranging economic impacts of the DBAH programme include a high proportion of participating companies introducing new products to the market (88%), growing their existing market share (72%), and entering new markets (67%) as a direct result of the programme.

There have also been some significant stand-out rising stars of the programme, which have gone on to raise significant investment, totalling over £80m (see below).

Andrei Danescu, CEO, Dexory, reflects on the support he received: “Taking part in the DBAH programme provided solid foundations to move forward and grow the business. The Entrepreneurs Programme provided invaluable experience in pitching our proposition for the first time, and then the ongoing business incubation really propelled us forward and opened the door to raising investment.”

“Our solution was initially designed to serve the retail sector front-of-house, managing inventory on the shelf. However, for the last 2-3 years, we’ve successfully focused on the logistics industry, driven by the lack of visibility our customers have over warehouse goods and have won Innovate UK funding and significant investment. The DBAH programme set us on this trajectory, and we’re really grateful for that early support.”

Caroline Fleming, Director of Innovation Strategy (Incubation and Enterprise), University of Surrey, says: “It’s great to see the strong legacy that the DBAH programme has created. Not only has it acted as a springboard for digital business growth and engaged a new wave of innovative entrepreneurs, but it’s also unlocked wider benefits. Many participating companies have also benefitted from university-based knowledge and assets, including R&D collaboration, support, and academic staff resources. As well as opening up the wider SETsquared ecosystem of investors and opportunities to pitch for investment.”

Here is a snapshot of the companies that have gone on to raise significant investments:

SETsquared Surrey continues to support a diverse range of tech start-ups through its business incubation membership, which provides a bespoke package of support to suit ventures throughout their business growth journey. Find out more about SETsquared Surrey support

The Digital Business Acceleration Hub was funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and match funded by the University of Surrey along with seven other partners.