Edinburgh Uni expands incubator programme for robotics entrepreneurs
Match-funding from Barclays Eagle Labs’ ecosystem partnership programme, funded by the UK government, means that the university’s Venture Builder Incubator (VBI) can increase its support to postgraduate students, early-career researchers, academic staff and recent alumni based anywhere in Scotland and specialising in robotics, hardware and autonomous systems.
The university said 26 start-ups and early-stage businesses would have the opportunity to receive a share of £100,000 and mentoring from “industry-leading experts”, as well as partake in interactive workshops, networking events and gain access to the Bayes Centre’s facilities in central Edinburgh. Now in its fourth iteration, VBI is for the first time working with the centre for robotics and artificial intelligence, the National Robotarium, a data-driven innovation hub based at Heriot-Watt University.
The UK robotics industry is projected to grow by more than 7 per cent by 2028, as part of a global robotics technology market valued in excess of $87 billion (£72bn) and which is projected to surpass $349bn by 2032.
Duncan Martin, head of entrepreneurship at the Bayes Centre, said: “Venture Builder Incubator specialises in bridging the gap between academia and entrepreneurship, transforming ideas that have societal and industrial impact into reality. In particular, the expansion of our 2023 programme will support the development of robotics and autonomous systems companies across Scotland - vital to our nation's key growth sectors in renewable energy, agriculture and healthcare, as well as to the national economy. At the University of Edinburgh, our incubator and start-up programmes are helping to deliver the skills and knowledge vital to Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and connect budding entrepreneurs with like-minded individuals and industry partners to unlock new collaboration opportunities.”
Matt Corbidge, head of Eagle Labs, Barclays, said: “The opportunity to match-fund this programme will have a marked impact on the businesses it touches within robotics and highlight the possibilities for growth more broadly across the sector. The programme will provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to connect and collaborate, drive growth and work on the commercialisation of their product or service offering - all while accessing state-of-the-art facilities.”
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