Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Inquiry Panel - Future of Work in Southampton - Thursday, 17th January, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Conference Room 3 and 4 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Mark Pirnie 

No. Item


Apologies and Changes in Panel Membership (If Any)

To note any changes in membership of the Panel made in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4.3.


The apologies of Councillor Furnell were noted. 


Minutes of the Previous Meeting (including matters arising) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To approve and sign as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 December 2018 and to deal with any matters arising.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 December, 2018 be approved and signed as a correct record.


The Future of Work in Southampton – What is required for Southampton to become a centre for AI, robotics, smart automation and the digital economy? pdf icon PDF 249 KB

Report of the Director, Legal and Governance, requesting that the Panel consider the comments made by the invited guests and use the information provided as evidence in the review.

Additional documents:


The Panel received the report of the Director, Legal and Governance, which in accordance with the inquiry plan, requested that the Panel considered how Southampton could benefit from the rapidly expanding technology sector and become a centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, smart automation and the digital economy.


Following discussions with invited representatives the following information was received:


1. Catalysts for UK Digital Tech Growth and Innovation – Harnessing the power of universities, nurturing and developing


Catherine Lee - Director of Research, Innovation & Enterprise, Southampton Solent University


·  Solent University are ranked 8th in the country for student start-ups.  These are primarily tech business, some of which have gone on to be very successful.

·  Starting up a business is easier than growing the business.  We find that students either lack the technical or business skills required.

·  Students get support from Solent, including funding, but many need more support than can be provided by the University alone.

·  Students would value an informal, dynamic venue that could act as a one-stop shop for tech support, business advice and funding bringing together business, university and skills.


David Bream - Director, Southampton SETsquared, University of Southampton


·  The SETsquared Partnership is the global no. 1 business incubator and enterprise partnership comprising five research-intensive universities: Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.

·  Southampton SETsquared site is centred on the University of Southampton Science Park – 17 buildings, 100 companies, 1,000+ jobs, £500m economic value per annum.

·  Innovation happens in clusters or themes.  Clusters can be supported to develop.  At the Science Park a cluster is developing around orthopaedic medicine.

·  The Science Park is open to people that are not graduates of the University of Southampton but most are recruited from the University.

·  Low failure rate of businesses supported through SETsquared (only 20-30 businesses a year) due to high level of support provided (business planning, management support, financing) and the selection process.  SETsquared is a successful specialist and niche business incubator.  However, they are being tasked by the Government to increase the number of companies that they work with and to deliver programmes with a wider capture.

·  Companies that outgrow the Science Park are encouraged to remain part of the Science Park community and engage in the networks and support new start-ups.

·  Businesses tend to stay in Southampton if they become established here.  Southampton has a lower cost base than London and is a pleasant place to live.

·  The University of Southampton has a number of programmes, aside from SETsquared, to support business start-ups.  These include Future Worlds, a campus initiative to grow businesses and accelerate start-ups which has a network of mentors, investors and experts, and Z21, an initiative to accelerate University of Southampton web stat-ups towards investment and rapid growth.

·  The Science Park has ultra-fast broadband but there is a general need to invest in the broadband infrastructure in the city.

·  Catherine Lee and David Bream sit on the Solent LEP Innovation Panel


Denise Edghill - Interim Director for Growth, Southampton City Council


·  A  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.