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'Start Me Up' Report Puts Cambridge & London as Leading the UK's Entrepreneurial Endeavor

Cambridge From St John's

Published: 18th June 2014.

London and Cambridge are leading the way in the UK’s entrepreneurial endeavour.

A new report – Start me up: Creating Britain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem – highlights the dominance of London and Cambridge in leading the UK’s entrepreneurial ‘ecosystem’. Authored by Cambridge start-up Social i Media, the report investigates how entrepreneurs in the UK are supported and the barriers that hinder them, as well as wider trends that are shaping the UK innovation ecosystem.

The report includes in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs and other experts, and data mined from 200,000 posts captured over three months and which identified London, followed by Cambridge, as the most dominant hubs for online conversations about entrepreneurial activity and related topics.

The Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at Cambridge Judge Business School, was the biggest influencer in such social conversations, the data found. During the data period (the first three months of this year), the key topics identified within Cambridge’s ‘virtual ecosystem’ were not as strongly linked to academia-related topics as might be expected; instead ‘technology’ was mentioned in conjunction with ‘social innovation’, ‘new techniques’ and the ‘world’.

The key topic, ‘co-founding group’, was mentioned in the same posts as keywords ‘pharmacology’ and ‘prestigious university’. Top tweets during the period featured ‘hot Cambridge shares’ and content about the Cambridge Satchel Company expanding into China.

Anna Lawlor, co-director and content creator at Social i Media, says: “The data was completely impartial and, since we moved from London to Cambridge in order to launch our media communications agency here, I was not surprised to see Cambridge as such a significant hub for entrepreneurial support, facilitation and innovation.

“Cambridge has such a rich seam of entrepreneurialism but so often this is considered in the context of its world-class universities. This report shows that the innovative enterprises of Cambridge are not the sole preserve of its universities, though they too have a distinct role to play, particularly in knowledge-sharing collaborations that benefit both.”

In January, Social i Media produced a global report – Innovation ecosystems: Empowering entrepreneurs and powering economies – for the Economist Intelligence Unit, on behalf of Barclays, which presented the report at the World Economic Forum in Davos. That report argued that global economies are on the cusp of a “third-wave industrial revolution” in which enterprising, young innovators will play a central role, and says that the rise of “micro-multinationals” – start-ups which operate across high- and low-cost locations, delivering to an international customer base — exemplifies the opportunities offered by globalisation, digital communications and the internet.

This latest report is UK-specific and argues that entrepreneurial Britain is beginning to flourish as policy changes and increased investment in the UK’s innovation ecosystem take root.

However, the report argues that in comparison with the US and Europe, the UK is only at the beginning of its journey to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and suggests a myriad of ways policy makers and business leaders can help strengthen a culture of entrepreneurialism that focuses on People, Places, Products and Processes in equal measure.

In addition to interviewing Jaideep Prabhu, Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Business and Enterprise at Judge Business School, and David Gill, managing director of St John’s Innovation Centre, the report includes interviews with Will Hutton, Principal of Hertford College (University of Oxford) and Chair of the Big Innovation Centre; Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of and the former UK Digital Champion; Eze Vidra, head of Google for Entrepreneurs Europe; Kathryn Parsons, founder of Decoded; Jane Chen, co-founder of Embrace; and professors at Cass Business School and Imperial College London.

Source: Cambridge News 

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