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Draft study into high-tech cluster around Silverstone Park reaches final stages

Draft study into high-tech cluster around Silverstone Park reaches final stages

Silverstone Park asset manager and developer MEPC has been handed a final draft version of the SQW study looking at the evolution of the high-tech cluster in the surrounding area. The study is the first of its kind for the area to consider whether there is evidence of a cluster.

The ingredients of a cluster usually include:

• Businesses that benefit from operating in close proximity to each other

• A specialist skills pool

• The movement of people between businesses in the area during their career

• The creation of new start-up, high-growth businesses

• Corporate venturing, venture capitalist and business angel investment

• University involvement

• Specialist import and export activity

• The interest of large well established businesses that want to take advantage of the specialist nature of the local business activity

The draft report is the result of six months’ intense work by SQW, a leading independent provider of research, analysis and advice in economic and social development.

Final publication of the report is expected in the Spring. Its findings could help attract significant investment plus Government support for high-tech companies located within Silverstone’s neighbouring counties.

MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director for Silverstone Park, commented: “This draft version brings us closer to uncovering the evolution of a high-tech cluster in the area surrounding Silverstone Park.

“It also provides a fascinating insight into the behaviour, achievements and requirements of the start-ups, the SMEs and larger companies – from supply chain to Tier 1 to OEMs – in the area.

“While we await final publication of the report we confidently predict it will show that there is a high-tech cluster in the area surrounding Silverstone Park which has global significance and which should be considered by Government as an engine room of the UK economy – worthy of investment and promotion.”

Cluster TeamSQW was commissioned to carry out the research by MEPC because of its experience in carrying out other similar studies such as the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon Report’ of the 1980s. As part of its work SQW has carried out case studies among individuals and companies operating within the high-performance technology and motorsport (HPT&M) sectors and based within a geography of roughly half an hour of Silverstone.

The term HPT&M is defined as: anything from software design to advanced engineering and everything in between including electronics, CAD, manufacturing, R&D and the professional service companies that support these activities in sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, defence, marine and motorsport.

SQW Director Chris Green said: “We have found evidence of new firms being formed and growing through networks of relationships within a specialist labour market. Whilst it has deep historical roots, the process of evolution is on-going. New applications for the surrounding technologies are emerging, many of which are linked to low carbon solutions in automotive, aerospace and other sectors.”

In addition to MEPC the study has been in partnership with Barclays and PwC and has been sponsored by: the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA); Buckinghamshire County Council; Northamptonshire County Council; Aylesbury Vale District Council; South Northants Council; Cherwell District Council; Buckinghamshire & Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP); Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP); South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

Image shows the study’s steering group including (back row, left-to-right): SQW’s Robert Willis & Christine Doel; Palmer PR’s Rob Palmer; Leading Edge Only’s Scott Sharp and (front): Jon Corbett; Head of Beds, Bucks & Northants, Corporate & Business Banking Origination, Barclays; Roz Bird, Commercial Director, Silverstone Park; Ruby Parmar, partner and head of private business at PwC in Milton Keynes and the South Midlands.

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