New Growth Programme for early StartUps launched in South West England

StartUp Studio, a growth programme for early stage tech startups in the South West of England, has been launched.

Tech South West has teamed up with virtual accelerator Activate and startup advisor Skowt Consulting to provide fully-funded opportunities for up to 30 pre-seed companies a year to progress their business through the programme, and then pitch to regional, UK and global investors.

Tech South West operates across the region to support the tech sector, with over 2500 members, and works with the likes of Engine Shed Bristol, Plymouth Science Park and TechSPARK.

Dan Pritchard, co-founder of Tech South West, said: “Support for early stage companies is an essential part of any dynamic and successful tech sector which is why we’re delighted to be launching Tech South West StartUp Studio. It makes absolute sense to provide a brilliant growth accelerator programme and investment opportunities to companies and founders whichever part of the region they emerge.”

Firms can now apply to join the fully-funded StartUp Studio, including the 6-week Activate programme, to secure a place in the first cohort, at

The entry deadline is Friday January 15, with the programme starting a month later. A live pitch event, as part of Tech South West’s online Tech Gathering series, will take place on Thursday April 22. Three cohorts will run through 2021.

Tracey Keys, Programme Director, of Activate, said: “Starting a company is not for the faint-hearted. What we will be doing together is taking the first steps towards what we hope will be successful, sustainable, and personally rewarding businesses.

“The programme is designed to challenge and improve the business foundations of each startup, building a viable, investor-ready prospect. Over six weeks, through interactive sessions companies answer big questions including ‘Where is the opportunity? Why now? Are we meeting real customer needs? Can we build a business around it and attract investors?’. Working with Tech South West, Activate mentors and a cohort of peers, each startup will develop a roadmap towards success.” 

Bristol-based Skowt Consulting is working with Activate and Tech South West to oversee delivery of the project, select the initial cohort, work with partners to support the programme, and attract investor organisations and individuals.

Ben Cooper, MD of Skowt Consulting, said: “Tech South West StartUp Studio has been designed to shine a light on South West tech companies from Gloucester to Penzance, and to take advantage of the increasing focus on regional investment from Seed VC Funds and Angel groups. 

“Through the programme, we’ll challenge startups to test their proposition, their market, and their business model, getting them ready to face investors at a showcase Tech South West pitch event.”

Experts from Activate and Skowt will discuss the programme at Tech South West’s regular online Tech Gathering 10-11am Thursday December 17

Applicants need to have been trading for under two years, be based in the South West – Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset or Wiltshire – and be at pre-seed or seed stage, having not yet raised a commercial round of funding.

Successful companies will benefit from a fully-funded place on Activate’s intensive six-week virtual accelerator programme. It includes three full-day workshops, two 2-hour weekly Q&A sessions, 1-1 mentoring, BuddyUp support programme, extensive pre-work and ‘homework’, online fireside chats with past cohort members and successful entrepreneurs from across the globe and an entry on ActivateU, Activate’s investment portal.

Beyond the Activate Programme and Pitch to investors, there is on-going support through the year from Tech South West partners, including on investment, grant funding, business strategy, brand, marketing, legal and financial topics.

For more information


For media enquiries, please contact Leah Watts, at Astley Media, on 01392 267394

Notes to editors

Tech South West Tech South West helps support, connect and showcase the tech sector across the South West of England. Tech South West is run by tech companies and clusters including Digital Plymouth, TechSPARK, Digital Northern Devon, Tech Swindon, Torbay Hi-Tech Cluster, Software Cornwall, Digital Taunton, Tech Exeter, Engine Shed and Silicon South. Tech South West is the only member organisation dedicated to supporting and working with the whole of the technology sector across the South West of England.
Skowt Consulting Skowt Consulting is a leading provider of strategic advice, mentoring and consulting services to StartUp and ScaleUp businesses across the South West eco-system.  Skowt is sector agnostic, and works with a wide-range of businesses, ranging from distilleries to AI/Robotics firms, through Fintech, natural swimming pools, SaaS platforms, EdTech, machine vision, MedTech, and logistics.
Activate Activate supports startups who want to have a positive impact on the challenges that really matter to our world. Over the year we seek out entrepreneurs with outstanding digital business ideas— then use our business, design and technology expertise to help them raise investment and guide them to lasting success.


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