ConTechXT

Collaboration breeds innovation, and innovation powers tech

To put tech in ConTechxt, we have invited our friends and collaborators in tech communities across our key regions to tell us about the initiatives they’ve been working on, challenges they are facing and ‘big picture’ issues they are discussing.

The Bessemer Society

The Bessemer Society looks at the deep tech sector* report

Named after the nineteenth century steel inventor and entrepreneur Sir Henry Bessemer, the Bessemer Society is a forum and mutual society formed of ‘serial’ CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs. Its members are committed to creating successful new companies based on technological innovation in the fields of science and technology.

This month, the Bessemer Society comments on the British Business Bank’s latest annual “Equity Tracker Report”, which draws heavily on data supplied by Beauhurst. The report covers all aspects of the venture capital (VC) market.

* Deep tech refers to those start-ups whose business model is based on high tech innovation in engineering, or significant scientific advances.


What's the story with the UKs deep tech sector VC market?

“The Bessemer Society’s 130 member businesses belong to what the report calls variously ‘deep tech’ or ‘R&D intensive companies’. Many points of the report resonate with what we hear at our Bessemer meetings. The stats are helpful as they confirm our experience, and support our understanding of the trends affecting the UK’s deep tech sector”.

- Alex Stewart, founder of the Bessemer Society

Tech Swindon

Tech Swindon, the information hub for all things tech and across the region, flourished during the lockdowns. Naturally comfortable online, the organisation used the lockdowns to keep building a stronger community and make new connections.

Lucy Paine, Swindon Ecosystem Connector of Tech Swindon, and a member of the TechSpark team, comments: “Tech talent, rather than business growth opportunity, remains the main challenge. Many of our members are recruiting, and our plans to support our SME community include launching a job board geared specifically for tech talent”.

Alongside regular Swindon Founders meet-up, Tech Swindon also established Balanced as the platform for management and strategy discussion, with topics including flexibility, visibility and mental health.

At the moment, Tech Swindon are busy planning their summit for November after the success of the inaugural event last year, which had over 2,000 unique attendees over the total of 5 days and 32 events.

Want to see for yourself? Follow Tech Swindon on Facebook to see the videos from the 2020 summit and more. You can also follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or reach Lucy directly at Lucy Paine


Royds Withy King is a partner of Tech Swindon and a sponsor of Swindon Founders.

“Tech talent, rather than business growth opportunity, remains the main challenge. Many of our members are recruiting, and our plans to support our SME community include launching a job board geared specifically for tech talent”.
Lucy Paine, Swindon Ecosystem Connector of Tech Swindon


Thames Valley Forum

Defining Levelling Up in a successful region

Along with Net Zero and Global Britain, Levelling Up the UK is one of the Government’s top objectives. The exact meaning of the phrase is often debated, but it is clear that the driver behind this is a desire for economic prosperity to be enjoyed across the whole country.

The idea is supported by all business groups and regional bodies up and down the country. Having been considered successful in the past, regions such as the Thames Valley and London are looking to define exactly what Levelling Up would mean for them.

Ian Binns, Director of Thames Valley Forum, comments: “The South, despite its reputation for success, has pockets of inequality, and the idea of Levelling Up will resonate with those in affected sectors and areas. Thames Valley Forum is concerned with articulating the value of the region to Levelling Up the rest of the UK. We have countless successful real life case studies, from Heathrow Airport to Pinewood Studios, and including University of Oxford and the energy clusters at Harwell Campus, where world-class infrastructure and innovation is to be found which provides net benefit for the whole UK economy and spin out wider employment opportunities across the country”.

“With tech and life sciences identified as areas of both current strength and future growth, we at Thames Valley Forum view collaboration and innovation between start-ups, scale-ups, corporates, academia and the public sector as key priorities for economic development in the region.”
Want to know more? Contact Thames Valley Forum

Thames Valley Forum (thamesvalleyforum.org) is the independent body for the Thames Valley economy, which runs a series of programmes, reports and activities with the mission of ensuring the region is a thriving economy and a great place to work and live for the benefit of the whole region and wider UK.


“The South, despite its reputation for success, has pockets of inequality, and the idea of Levelling Up will resonate with those in affected sectors and areas".
- Ian Binns, Director of Thames Valley Forum