As 2019 draws to a close, it seems like a good time to recap on what’s happened in the Tech Park (STP) community over the past 12 months.
We’ve welcomed four new occupiers this year: Auto Service Finance, Elements Technology, Jellyfish Pictures and Simoda. They all joined us as growing businesses – with Jellyfish being inward investors into the City; creating high value job opportunities for local people.
We also saw a few internal moves, with Rebel Base Media opening Sheffield’s first Podcasting Studio right here on Level 1 in January. Surecore moved to a larger space to facilitate their continued growth, following earlier investment rounds. Tobii Dynavox expanded its UK base at STP, doubling in office size.
We’ve been proud to host over 70 meetups this year, with over 1200 attendees. Our support for the volunteers that run these will continue into 2020. If you’ve not had the chance to come along to one, make it a New Year’s resolution. They are a good opportunity to expand your networks and meet likeminded folk discussing everything from Front-end Development to Cryptocurrencies!
Tobii Eyetracking Forum:
We co-hosted a showcase of eye tracking technologies with Tobii in March, which saw over 65 attendees get first-hand experience of what this technology can offer their business
Hackathon – Urban Flows Observatory:
November saw a successful data hack facilitated by STP in partnership with the Urban Flows Observatory. This has resulted in two projects receiving a share of £70,000 to progress and potentially commercialise their ideas for helping to create a healthier environment.
STP Branding and Presence:
Ongoing updates around the building and reception area were bolstered by a brand refresh and new website by local design house FIELD Studio. Our new website offered us a chance to rationalise various projects and activities into 4 key strands:
Including our Cooper Project incubation programme for pre-start, pre-investment, pre-revenue businesses operating in Tech and Digital sector businesses.
A unique opportunity for resident businesses of STP to access high quality, strategic advice to assist in developing a business development action plan – whether for growth or resilience. Our pilot in early 2020 will see 4-6 businesses engage with our growth mentors to form a long-term supportive relationship. We’re funding this as part of our remit to aid the development of our resident businesses, and expect this project to become part of our offer to clients looking to grow their business.
Our Inward Investment offer to businesses looking to locate or relocate in Sheffield.
This is the title we’ve given to all of our activities that add to the landscape of a thriving economy. It includes our support for meetups, our bespoke work experience placement scheme for disadvantaged students, and our sponsorship of the Sheffield Digital Showcase and Start-up Weekend Sheffield.
I’m excited to say we’ve got even more planned for 2020.
To start with, February will be our Investment Awareness Month, with an open invitation to all of our clients to come to lunch discussions with Campus Capital and Innovate UK about ways to fund your business growth and how to understand what investors look for in a business. We’ll also hear from business owners who have been there and done it.
On behalf of the STP Team, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
Chief Executive, Sheffield Technology Parks