Since Engine Shed opened we have had a focus on the investment agenda – particularly access to investment for growing businesses in the South West of England.
The problem we hope to solve
With companies receiving 6x more investment in London and it apparently taking 3x longer to achieve funding in the West of England, there is more work to do to reduce the barriers to growth in the region. The South West has the third biggest community of angel investors (after London and the South East) yet 68% of the total UK angel investment goes into the golden triangle of Cambridge, Oxford and London. Only 14% of scaleup companies access equity investment – and whilst equity isn’t the answer for everyone, we believe that building the equity ecosystem will benefit the scaleup community more widely.
What we are doing
In 2019, we launched the Quarterly Investment Briefing series to bring investors together to network, share and learn. These events run quarterly and see c. 50 people gather at each event. The Quarterly Investment in Brief newsletter is circulated to 300 investors who are interested to learn about the investment opportunities and activities in the region.
We also partnered with TechSPARK to support Silicon Gorge – the number one pitch competition in the region.
In January 2020 we designed a 2-year pilot with TechSPARK to add more capacity and capability to improve investment into the South West. This resulted in two roles being created of Investment Activators for the region – Briony Phillips and Abby Frears. They are the go-to lead for those seeking investment and those looking to make investments. They also run the Quarterly Investment Briefing events/newsletters and the Silicon Gorge pitch events.
In 2021, the Investment Activator Programme website was launched, designed to support companies that are raising investment in the South West and to shine a spotlight on all the great things happening in the region to investors. It is kindly supported by both public and private sector organisations.
Engine Shed is one of 8 partners supporting the Investment Activator Programme alongside Rocketmakers, Sanderson, TechSPARK, TLT, UWE Bristol, UKC3 and West of England Combined Authority.
For more information: https://invest-southwest.com/