South West tech accelerator returns to support 150 companies

The only tech business support programme for the whole of the South West of England is returning for its third year, with plans to support 150 small businesses to achieve their growth aims.

The Tech South West Growth Programme launched in 2021 and helped South West companies secure over £1m in funding in its first year. To date, forty tech firms have been supported through the programme.

Returning as Growth Forge 2024, the programme will individually assess over 150 growing tech businesses across all sectors, creating an individual package of support for each from across our specialist partners to enable each company to meet its potential. The programme also includes three Growth Days across 2024 where the cohort can meet up, mix with partners, share experiences and benefit from workshops delivered by our partners and business coaches.

Since its inception three years ago.the programme has supported the likes of Milbotix, Coreblue, ARC Marine, Intelligent AI, Filmily, Small Robot Company, savvy navvy, digiLab, Kelpi and others to identify and close gaps in their businesses, to raise funds and to improve their understanding of key areas including legals, marketing, sales, pitching for funds and business accounting.

Growth Forge 2024 is delivered with expert partners including UK Top 30 full-service accountancy firm Bishop Fleming, legal specialists Ashfords, professional coaching provider Sandler, award-winning marketing agency Program, full-service insurance broker Howden and global software provider Microsoft.

Ben Cooper, Funding and Support Lead at Tech South West, said: “Growth Forge 2024 will play a key role in supporting outstanding tech companies in the South West to address pain points and achieve their next stage of growth. With an abundance of innovative firms in the region committed to green growth, healthtech development, climate science and tech for good, supporting the growth of the sector means supporting the nation at large to achieve its full potential. At Tech South West we are looking forward to supporting and working closely with ambitious companies from across the region that support that vision.”

The programme is open to tech companies based in the South West at all stages of growth – from founders and pre-seed startups to scaleups and established organisations.

Richard Ellis, Small, Medium and Corporate General Manager at Microsoft, said: “We’re working with Tech South West to ensure brilliant tech companies in the South West have access to the tools, expertise and guidance they need to reach their growth goals. 

“The tech sector delivers an outsized contribution to the economic output and positive impact of the region, and Growth Forge will play a powerful role in helping great founders and tech teams achieve their potential in 2024.”

Amutri is a 3D visualisation company based in Falmouth. The company was named a Tech South West One to Watch earlier this year, and  took part in the 2023 Growth Programme.

Michael Calver, CEO of Amutri, said: “Tech South West’s Growth Programme has been fantastic for us, and we’re delighted to have been given the opportunity to be a part of it. We have an amazing network of people, investors, institutions, and companies in the South West and this programme does a great job of bringing it together and making it accessible.”

Via face-to-face Growth Days, an online assessment tool and growth tracker, peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and online resources, Growth Forge 2024 will deliver tailored business support for up to 150 participating companies.

Chris Dyson, Head of Technology and Partner at Ashfords, said: “We are proud to be supporting the Tech South West Growth Forge. Our team of specialist lawyers are passionate about working with growth businesses and investors in the technology sector as they look to the future, whether that’s ongoing support, raising capital, strategic acquisitions, or the sale of the business. 

“Ashfords has a longstanding reputation for supporting tech businesses that will make a real difference in the region, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise with the companies involved in this programme.”

Growth Forge companies will benefit from 1-1 consultations with specialised partners, tailored business assistance, comprehensive company assessments and ongoing support.

Pippa Clarke, Head of Technology Innovation & Growth at Bishop Fleming, said: “We are delighted to be a Partner of the Growth Forge 2024 programme. We’ve played an active role in the Tech South West Community over the past five years and have seen firsthand the broad range of exciting Tech businesses in the South West.

“As a South West-based firm of award winning chartered accountants with hundreds of tech clients from startups to muliti-national companies with turnovers ranging from £1m to £100m we are really well placed to share our experiences and expertise with those taking part in the programme.

“We can’t wait to get started!”

Tech is the fastest growing part of the economy in the South West, with particular regional strengths in greentech, marinetech and climate science. 

Research commissioned by Tech South West has forecast the sector to reach nearly £20bn and provide 125,000 jobs by 2026. 

Andy McCreadie, Managing Director at Sandler South West, said: “At Sandler, we believe that sales proficiency and excellence are crucial in helping tech companies grow, attract future investment, and support innovation. Over the years, we have trained more than one million salespeople from large corporations such as LinkedIn, Oracle and HubSpot, as well as tech startups, to help them achieve success in their sales endeavours. Keeping this in mind, Sandler is thrilled to be a part of Tech South West and support Growth Forge members in their journey towards achieving their future goals.” 

The Growth Forge programme runs alongside a number of projects delivered by Tech South West to support the sector, including regular meetups, the annual Tech South West Awards, the AI South West networking group, a Regional Leadership Forum, the region’s biggest corporate esports festival, research projects, the South West Tech Daily news platform and more.

Tyne Hill, Account Executive at Howden, said: “Our aim is to cultivate a vibrant community of trailblazers in the tech industry. We understand the game-changing role of innovative insurance expertise. Tailoring our support to the needs, ambitions, and values of South West businesses, we’re eager to collaborate, offer our personal touch and innovative mindset to fuel successful growth journeys.

“A thriving tech sector relies on a robust start-up community and access to a knowledgeable broker. We’re proud to bring our unmatched experience to support the growth of South West businesses.”

Award-winning marketing agency Program will be providing brand and marketing support to the cohort as a Growth Forge partner.

Caroline Orr, Director at Program, said: “The team at Program are looking forward to helping tech companies, big and small, skyrocket their business through Tech South West’s Growth Forge programme. We will be on hand to support all things brand, marketing and communications and can’t wait to get started.”

Tech South West operates across the region to support the tech sector, with over 2500 members, and works with the likes of SETsquared, Software Cornwall, TechSPARK and Digital Plymouth.
To find out more about the programme go to techsouthwest.co.uk/growthforge

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Join Growth Forge and receive £8,000 of business support for just £795*.

*£495 for applications submitted before 9 February

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