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Southampton: the new hub for innovation in the UK?

Innovation outside London.

Whenever people think of innovation and entrepreneurialism in the UK, Shoreditch probably pops into their head. But things are changing as a growing number of people want work outside of London. How often do you hear “I’m paying through the nose for a train pass and have to stand all the way to London”? Southampton is a prime example of a growing entrepreneurialism fuelled by talent that stays in the area and that is nurtured here.

Future Worlds is an on-campus start up incubator set up in 2015 by Reuben Wilcock to showcase innovation for the University of Southampton. It was launched to support students, postgraduates and researchers to spinout technologies, develop new business concepts and accelerate the growth of university start-ups. Since its inception, Future Worlds has nurtured over a hundred and fifty concepts through their incubator programme. More than sixty of these concepts are now in the start-up stage or have become fully operating businesses. Everyone who goes through the incubator programme receives mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and innovation experts in their field.

Dragons’ Den-style flagship event.

Each year, Future Worlds runs a Dragons’ Den-style flagship event that enables the best six start-up businesses to present their idea and hopefully secure investment. This year, the event is taking place on Saturday 12th May. We expect to see a broad range of concepts from a health-related innovation to transport infrastructure technology. Watch the film above to see who the contestants are.

Our very own CEO of Five by Five, Nick Lawton, is one of the four Dragons. He will sit alongside fellow Dragons, Chris Broad (Director of Sales Contracting, EMEIA, Apple), Andrew Doe (Founder, confetti.co.uk) and Sonya Lami (Fund Manager, Insight Investment).

Nick's reasoning.

He shares his thoughts on how he sees the event going and his reasons for getting involved: “I’m really excited about next Saturday. It is the first time I have been a Dragon and I can’t wait to hear the pitches. I have huge respect and admiration already for the people participating and hope I’m able to help some of them realise their dream. Heading up a local business myself, that has grown and expanded globally, I know how important it is to support local talent. From the initial information released about the finalists, it’s great to see such diverse ideas. My biggest worry is that I will want to invest in every innovation! Good luck to all of those pitching.” (Results found here).

Note: To keep up to date with all the latest announcements from the student entrepreneurs, just click HERE.


By Alexis Eyre
Head of Marketing

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