Is there a perfect place to locate a business?
7th September 2018
If you run an innovative company you’re probably looking at more than price per square foot to ensure your business doesn’t just take the next step, but the next staircase. You may find some of the elements that successful entrepreneurs that I speak to require of the wider ecosystem useful to consider:
  1. Funding: As a start-up, funding and support are essential, so do look for business incubation, accelerators, grant funding bodies, as well as venture capital funds.
  2. Talent: If you are a rapidly growing company, you are going to need to recruit people, so consider whether there are skilled people nearby and check that re-locating staff will want to live in the surrounding environment. Remember that it’s unlikely that 100 clones of yourself will make the best business, so look for diversity in the broadest possible sense.
  3. Facilities: If your business needs testing capabilities for hardware or software, it is worth considering how far those facilities are from your office. As the orders ramp up you will need to spend more time travelling to use the facilities so chose a location nearby.
  4. Customers: Every business needs to grow and to do that it needs orders, so look at the location in terms of potential customers and whether there are on-site networking events to help you meet them.
  5. Collaborators: Innovation often requires partnering with others, particularly as a small business as you can’t possibly do or know everything. Build a partnership and deliver a great product rather than settling for a mediocre one. Before you sign on the dotted line, consider who in the area you may want to collaborate with.
Oxfordshire is rich with opportunities for entrepreneurs from all sectors and there are several locations that offer all of the above. Harwell Campus is one of these. Why? Well, I’ll use the example of the Harwell Space Cluster, which includes 80 organisations employing 800 people and spans start-ups to multinationals. For funding, there are Venture Capitalists and grant giving agencies such as the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency (including its Business Incubation Centre). Networking is an essential part of Campus life with events such as the Satellite Applications Catapult’s Satucinno (yes, cappuccino with satellite shaped sprinkles on). Testing and validation facilities provided by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space, which enables companies to shake, bake and build bits of kit to go into space. The Campus’s other Clusters in Life Sciences and Energy create opportunities for diversification into new markets. The exceptional quality of people at the Campus will be demonstrated by the two all-female Space panel sessions at Venturefest Oxford. If you want to hear more about the opportunities that Harwell Campus could offer you please do get in touch: [email protected]

About the author

UKRI-Harwell Campus
Joanna joined UKRI-STFC in November 2017 as the Harwell Space Cluster Development Manager, working to develop the Cluster by helping the 80 space organisations at Harwell Campus to grow and attracting new companies to set up operations on Campus.

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