The official launch of InnovateMK, a new incubator space for technology start-ups in Milton Keynes sponsored by Tech Mahindra and Lividia Ltd., recently took place on Friday, January 13. InnovateMK is designed to encourage and support local entrepreneurs and start-ups with access to crucial resources, including office facilities, mentoring, and networking events within the investment community.
Milton Keynes was recently ranked number one for start-ups outside London and with the region emerging as an important hub for digitalisation and automation, the launch of InnovateMK will provide benefits for both the technology start-ups and the local community.
Why is Milton Keynes such a popular hub for start-ups?
Milton Keynes is designed from the ground up as an environment which can nurture new businesses. While many established national and international companies have based their UK headquarters there, Milton Keynes is increasingly becoming a hub for start-up activities. With 75 start-ups per 10,000 of the population, Milton Keynes is positioned 3rd for young businesses out of the UK’s largest 63 cities. There’s a culture of innovation at the heart of the city: its Smart City initiatives demonstrate how citizens are always ready to experiment and adopt new technologies.
What will an initiative like this mean for Milton Keynes in boosting its place as a fast-growing city for start-ups?
Investing in the start-ups of tomorrow is vital for Milton Keynes. This initiative is another that will put Milton Keynes on the map as a destination of choice for new tech businesses, as well as providing benefits for both the incubator members and the local community. We’re looking forward to recruiting new members to the community as well as offering a host of practical resources and the opportunity for members to really capitalise on their business ideas.
The introduction of a new incubator taps into the innovative and forward thinking approach of the city.
What does the future for start-ups in the digital world look like?
When it comes to tech and start-ups, the UK is, perhaps, lagging behind other countries, such as the United States. However, there have recently been signs of more investment. For example, following Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement, the government is planning to provide £400 million into venture capital, in turn encouraging private investment and unlocking further funds for start-ups looking to grow.
Although these are positive signs, the start-up market is highly competitive. We need to support the growth and success of these businesses through the use of initiatives like this.
What is the benefit in investing in start-ups?
The initiative is part of a wider strategy of investing in new companies and the start-up culture resonates with the DNA of our own organisation. It provides us with the chance to collaborate and build synergies with our own innovative new technologies, probably in ways that we had not considered before. Start-ups will also open up new market opportunities.
What are the benefits for tech companies in becoming part of the incubator initiative?
The market can be tough for start-ups in the early stages. By becoming part of the incubator initiative, these new businesses will gain access to the right expertise, as well as drawing on the experience of other entrepreneurs, the guidance and networking they need when first developing their business. Through the incubator they will be able to tap into a range of different skillsets, encouraged and mentored by these experts. The incubator can play a big role in growing a start-up taking them from lift-off to really thriving as a business.
What facilities/resources will be offered to the start-ups?
InnovateMK offers start-ups a vibrant co-working centre, networking platform, access to key entrepreneurial events, channel to market, accounting assistance, financial and legal management and Advisory boards and mentors. We believe we can provide the right experience, technology expertise and, most importantly, an understanding of the market opportunities to support new tech businesses in the city. InnovateMK would also help start-ups find access to funds that includes Tech Mahindra’s own CVC.
Why choose Milton Keynes for a new start-up incubator?
The survival rate for start-ups in Milton Keynes that were founded in 2010 to 2015 was 41.3 per cent, which is lower than the average for the South East region in general, which is a good indicator that young businesses in the city need active support.
While there are several initiatives supporting start-ups in the city, we found that there was a need to create a networking platform that brings them together, which gave rise to the birth of InnovateMK.
Tech Mahindra has had a presence in the city for the past 16 years now. We have seen the city evolve as the UK’s new tech hub over the past decade. Start-ups resonate with the DNA of our business.
The government recently gave the go ahead for investing £27 million to fund the next stage of development work on the Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford “expressway” and a thriving start-up community would play a significant role in mirroring a “silicon valley” in Milton Keynes.
How many start-ups can InnovateMK cater for?
We are currently supporting 5 start-ups - Wellkom, Fatpencil, Nth Dimension, CAPE and MaaS. The facility is planned to support in excess of 50.
Prajakt Deotale, Europe consulting services, Tech Mahindra
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