An advance party of entrepreneurs from Portugal have visited Exeter to research opportunities to accelerate the growth of their companies in the UK in collaboration with Exeter Science Park.
At the same time, British businessman Piers Corfield from the Science Park based tech business Dashboard is in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, to establish new business links there.
The exchange has been organised through Exeter Science Park’s fast-growth business support partner Fabrica de Startups (www.fabricadestartups.com), in an initiative designed to build international relationships, particularly in big data and technology.
Stewart Noakes, COO of Fabrica de Startups and entrepreneur in residence at the Exeter Science Park explained: “This initiative enables like-minded businesses to share ideas, knowledge and space.
“Fabrica supports a business incubation programme in Lisbon and, in my role at Exeter Science Park, I am advising and nurturing the fast growth of innovative start-ups. This exchange is the first step towards a business network that enables like-minded start-ups to collaborate and grow,” Mr Noakes added.
The Portuguese contingent included Marco Marques, developer of an app called “LocalEyes” which provides city visitors with recommendations for restaurants, hotels and transport from a network of local friends.
Francisco Val Ferreira is also an app developer. His innovation “WeRoll”, which is currently in beta testing, allows photo albums to be shared with friends and family, creating conversations “by invitation only” with pictures and captions.
Luis Caixado’s hospitality business “Just Enjoy”, is seeking to enhance the holiday experience for children through the delivery of entertaining and informative holiday ‘survival kits’.
The three entrepreneurs had an opportunity to pitch their businesses at Exeter Castle Demo night and all three ideas were well received. They were also introduced to Crowdcube to learn more about crowdfunding. Marco said: “Although we have similar organisations in Portugal, the opportunity offered by crowdfunding in the UK is much more than the financial investment, it’s the buy-in from the investors who become ambassadors and help to promote the brand in the UK. This would help me to scale-up much faster.”
Francisco said: “I benefit from being in a business incubator in Lisbon but I would like to have a foot in the UK to accelerate the growth of the business. The UK is very well placed to promote fast growth internationally.”
Robin Jackson, Director of Exeter Science Park Centre said: “These connections and the opportunities for future collaboration, especially in the science, data and technology sectors, are exactly what the Exeter Science Park was designed to achieve. The Centre itself provides flexible working space and an environment that has been created to promote ideas, innovation and knowledge sharing.”