Innovative Enterprise by Keith Robson

Innovative Enterprise by Keith Robson Click to enlarge

18 Sep 2012

If the business community of Surrey is to continue to thrive then we must look toward the competition emerging from highly innovative economic initiatives emerging not just from the USA and Europe but increasingly from the Far East, particularly China and Korea and Singapore.

The talk is all about “Innovation Ecosystems” and world class “Clusters”, but what do those terms mean in practical terms?  Well, fundamentally it means that the region must first provide a world class underpinning  infrastructure and for the smart companies that Surrey wants to attract that means ultrafast broadband as well as improved transport links.

Surrey Connects has placed both of these high on its priority list. Then it is a case of beginning to link together innovative people and companies working in sectors where Surrey can demonstrate both quality and critical mass. But it is not enough to simply create networks as talking shops. Innovation ecosystems should provide proactive business incubation expertise and, most importantly, routes to raise the funding required by hungry new start up companies.

Surrey already has a number of successful business incubator units and Surrey Connects’ task will be to link these together more effectively and to work on the establishment of additional units in key strategic areas. Surrey Connects has also set itself the objective of raising a major commercial fund to support start ups.

Surrey Connects members are already active in these fields, with the University of Surrey in Guildford and Royal Holloway in Egham already housing active business incubator operations. Royal Holloway is supporting work to create a new incubator in Woking and the University of Surrey has opened a new incubator unit to support companies using satellite data and images in a market which is currently growing at 9% per annum and is reckoned will be worth £400nb by 2030.

Similarly Surrey hosts one of the world’s most significant clusters of video game companies which, like our strengths in Satellite Engineering,  is another one of our best secrets. Surrey businessman, Peter Molyneux, has created two world leading video games companies and has advised both Electronic Arts and Microsoft on their latest games strategies. Peter has offered to bring together some of his key contacts in the global games industry’s with the aim of putting Surrey firmly on the world map in this burgeoning sector.

There are many other examples I could give, but hopefully the above illustrates the huge potential we have within Surrey to leverage off our very brightest and most innovative people and companies and Surrey Connects commitment to provide the linkages and support to make this happen.