SETsquared Bristol’s guide to local business support resources

Posted by 

SETsquared Bristol

SETsquared Bristol’s business support isn’t suitable for all tech enabled businesses and some businesses are too early in their development to benefit from our world class accelerator programme. At SETsquared we understand that it’s tough starting out with a new business venture and want to ensure that all unsuccessful applicants receive helpful information about the other opportunities that are available and that may be more suitable for their current businesses and business ideas.

Below we have compiled a list of common reasons why some applicants to SETsquared Bristol are unsuccessful, along with details of other organisations or initiatives that could help to support entrepreneurs in developing their business.

Idea Stage Businesses

If you’ve got a great idea but haven’t registered as a trading business and don’t know where to begin with incorporating, building a network and getting your first customer then we’d suggest getting in touch with West of England Growth Hub and Enterprise Nation. Both organisations specialise in helping people with business ideas, to set up their first enterprise and grow their idea into something fully realised. If you or a member of your team has graduated from any higher education institution (undergrad or postgrad) in the past 3 years then you could be eligible for UWE’s Launch Space, where you can apply for a free 12-month residency in Launch Space for your start-up.


Early Stage Academic Spin Outs

The five universities that make up the SETsquared Partnership (Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey), are specialists in commercialising academic research. The partnership has been doing it for over 17 years, and have been recognised as the Number 1 University Business Incubator for the past 4 years because of this. Many PhD students, post docs and researchers are keen to commercialise exciting and innovative research but aren’t aware that they can access support from their universities to do this. Two programmes provide excellent support and learning opportunities for researchers with an interest in moving into the world of business:

  • Researcher to Innovator is a 3 day course, which helps you understand the market opportunity, language of your industry and introduces you to a wider business network.
  • iCUre is an extended programme for university research teams with commercially promising ideas. The programme offers funding for business founders, and travel to industry meetings and trade shows to test the market and grow your business network.
  • If you’re a Scientist or Researcher, Unit DX Incubator is run by scientists and supports and accelerates the translation of research with lab space, technical/business support and investment. A Science and Engineering scale-up space will be available soon!


Non technology-enabled business

If you’re a trading business that’s generating revenue but you’re not a technology business, then SETsquared are unable to support you as we only offer business support to technology enabled businesses. However, you shouldn’t despair as there are some truly excellent business support organisations in Bristol and bath that can help grow your business and drive your success:

Natwest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator in Bristol is the largest outside of London and concentrates on the development of the entrepreneur. They have developed hugely successful non-technology businesses and continue to do so every with cohort.

If you’re working in the digital creative space or have a business that focuses on artistic development then it’d be worth taking a look at the Pervasive Media Studio, an internationally recognised space that supports artists and creatives to conceive of and produce ground-breaking work.

Similarly, if your business has a social mission or is a Community Interest Company you can access the support on offer from The School for Social Entrepreneurs, who have a great number of workshops and programmes for socially conscious founders who want to make a difference.

The Network for Creative Enterprise, which is a partnership between Watershed, Spike Island, Knowle West Media Centre, The Guild and UWE provides tailored events, workshops and mentoring for individuals and small enterprises which support their business development from the idea stage through to start-up, and on to growth.

The Digital Innovation Business Acceleration Hub, facilitated by SETsquared Bath, offers bespoke business support and coaching to help innovative companies in the West of England achieve their potential. The support is FREE and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  The programme is open to growth businesses in the digital sector who are innovating in health, well-being and the creative media sectors.


Looking for Office Space?

SETsquared Bristol is an incubator and accelerator, which means we grow businesses and offer shared and dedicated office space at competitive rates as well as providing world class business support to technology start-ups. However, some businesses leave when they outgrow our space therefore, if you need a home for your business then take a look at this handy list complied by our friends at Engine Shed to talk about their flexible co-working packages.

8 person office at SETsquared Bristol


For more information on SETsquared Bristol news, opportunities and events, sign up to receive the monthly newsletter.

Recent News, Blogs and Stories

Impulsonics founders at NEC competition

Cell technology spinout Impulsonics closes £450k funding

Impulsonics has closed its first funding round to advance the development of its unique biotech automation platform and begin customer trials. Impulsonics is an award-winning cell technology spinout from the...
Enterprising Women 3.0 group

Call out for women founders looking for business support 

We’re thrilled to launch Enterprising Women 4.0, our free business support programme for aspiring women founders, kindly funded by NatWest. Enterprising Women is open to early-stage founders in the UK...
Celltris team - six people in manufacturing space smiling wearing black Celltris jumpers

Battery development startup Celltris receives £0.8 million investment

Bristol-based battery startup, Celltris has received a substantial boost in investment towards its mission to eliminate wasted internal space in lithium-ion cells, the rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles. The...


Fast track your technology business