The SETsquared Exeter business acceleration team were delighted to be invited to exhibit and speak at the inaugural Torbay Hi-Tech Cluster Research and Innovation Conference held on Thursday 5 May.

Hosted at South Devon College’s Hi Tech and Digital Centre, the conference delivered a day of inspirational talks and networking. SETsquared Exeter were able to meet members of the region’s vibrant technology community and showcase the enhanced support available to Devon-based start-ups including: their dedicated, purpose build accelerator based at Exeter Science Park and Technology Exploration Lab, an innovative development space with emerging technologies for entrepreneurs to innovate quickly and to their full potential.

SETsquared Exeter’s Technology Manager, Colin Dart had the opportunity to take to the stage and present on the region’s growing hi-tech scene. He was joined by regional support partners, including the Torbay Development Agency, South Devon College, EPIC, and Conference sponsor Bishop Fleming. All cementing the fantastic ecosystem at hand for growing the region’s hi-tech ecosystem.

The day began with the opening of South Devon College’s new Photonics training suite. Opened by Anthony Mangnall MP and attended by guests of honour Mary and Rachel Hockham, the wife and daughter of the late Dr George Hockham, this resource promises to bolster the career opportunities of local FE and HE students, whilst boosting the growing regional engineering sector.

The conference provided the opportunity to hear from the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter and learn about the cutting-edge research being undertaken that promises to fuel the next wave of innovation. Dr Shakil Awan, Dr Paul Davey, Prof Rob Hicken, and Dr Isaac Luxmoore spoke across a range of research areas and potential applications from Alzheimer diagnosis using Graphene, to Quantum Key Generation and beyond.

There was also a chance to take in poster presentations from University of Plymouth and Exeter and University Centre South Devon students, showcasing the next generation of innovators waiting in the wings.

The day was rounded off with the region’s hi-tech businesses showcasing how they have applied innovation within the industry. Bay Photonics, Spirent, Effect Photonics, and GandH imparted their insight and wisdom on the application of technology across space exploration, communications infrastructure, autonomous vehicle systems, Position Navigation and Time, Quantum Computing, and more.

Speaking of the event, Colin Dart, SETsquared Exeter Technology Manager said: “It was a remarkably successful first occurrence of this eye-opening conference which proves that Devon’s hi-tech scene is flourishing and has everything it needs to continue to do so. I would encourage any early-stage startups preparing to undertake the next phase of their technology development journey to get in contact. SETsquared Exeter would be delighted to support you.”

To discover more about SETsquared Exeter, the programmes of support and facilities available, connect on LinkedIn or Twitter and visit the website.

SETsquared Exeter is able to expand the reach of its business acceleration provision as part of the University of Exeter Enterprise Zone (UEEZ) project. The project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The project aims to improve the opportunities for innovative STEMM, Devon-based start-ups and SMEs that have the aspiration and potential to achieve high growth and to accelerate their development through the provision of expert business support. To learn more about the project visit: UEEZ Project | SETsquared (exeter.ac.uk)