A new company – Silverstone Technology Cluster – has been formed to support the high-tech activity within a one-hour radius of Silverstone Circuit.
The formation of the new company follows a report from independent research and analysis specialists SQW identifying the area around Silverstone as a cluster exceptionally rich in high-tech engineering know-how and capability.
Subsequently Silverstone Park developer MEPC, along with Barclays, EMW, Grant Thornton, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Cherwell District and South Northants Council, came together to agree a business plan and set up the membership-based, not-for-profit company.
Brackley companies, TotalSim (computational fluid dynamics) and KW Special Projects (integration of new processes and technologies), will join Silverstone Technology Cluster as the first full members and will advise the Board from a high-growth company perspective.
Silverstone Technology Cluster is the cluster of high-tech companies identified by the SQW report, which was published in the summer. Subsequently, the Cluster has been warmly welcomed by both Government and the finance and business community. SQW is the highly respected economic and social development research firm whose findings first brought the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ – a collection of significant companies working in bioscience, medicine and technology – to public attention.
STC has now launched a distinctive brand identity and new website, which can be viewed here.
It has also appointed Pim van Baarsen as its Chief Executive Officer. Pim will be well-known to those in motorsport, automotive and high-tech engineering for his previous work with the Motorsport Industry Association, renowned gearbox manufacturer Xtrac and Haymarket Exhibitions. His on-going role as Managing Director for CMA Marketing, a company specialising in marketing for high performance engineering and motorsport, adds to his qualifications.
Pim commented: “I am delighted to accept this exciting new role for the region. I came to the UK 21 years ago, as it was clear then that it had an unbeatable high performance engineering sector. To now play a part in the development of this sector through the Silverstone Technology Cluster is a huge honour and one I greatly look forward to.”
Leading the commissioning of SQW’s research and report was MEPC with partners Barclays and PwC. MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director for Silverstone Park, enthused: “I am delighted that we have been able to reach this stage this year given that the SQW report was only completed in first draft format in January 2016.
“Following a very successful launch of the SQW cluster report in June, we have worked hard over the last six months to put together a robust business plan for a new cluster organisation, to represent the needs of our high-tech community. We did this with the help of Soraya Jones formerly of Cambridge Wireless, who advised us on the detail of running a membership-based organisation for high-tech companies.”
Jon Corbett, Director and Head of SME for Barclays in the South East Midlands and Cambridgeshire: “The publication of the SQW report earlier this year was a key milestone in demonstrating the existence of the Silverstone Technology Cluster. That was the first step; how we support the companies within the sector is a key element to the future prosperity of the area.
“To do so we need to build an ecosystem that addresses the areas highlighted within the report to support not only the cluster firms but also the broader spectrum of businesses that are based here. The establishment of STC as an organisation to support this is vital, as it will concentrate on addressing the areas highlighted and support collaboration and promotion of the Cluster.
“I am delighted that as a founder member of STC, Barclays will continue to play a key role in supporting the next phase and assist in facilitating growth in our local economy.”