As you may have read about previously on this blog, in 2013 BU, on behalf of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, took on the task of coordinating a regional Manifesto for the Creative and Digital Economy. Last June the manifesto was signed by local MP’s, business leaders, local authorities and education providers. From this Silicon South was born.
Silicon south is the working group, led by David Ford of Bright Blue Day, in charge of turning the vision of the manifesto “to enhance the creative and digital economy of the area, building on our existing successes and strength to create a thriving international hub driving economic growth” into a reality.
Since its launch in June 2013 Silicon South has already made excellent progress. In December they successfully secured funding from the LEP of £370,000 in order to support the development of key projects for 2014 including:
- Establishing Silicon South
- Competitor analysis of similar initiatives
- Capacity analysis to allow for targeted future support of activities
- Support for a common directory for creative and digital options for education and skills development
- Support for a series of pilot initiatives including an incubation/ acceleration programme for start ups
- Creation of a VFX hub
- Implementation of a growth plan to support medium sized businesses
- Promotion of Dorset as a location for film production alongside an assessment of the market need for a future film studio in Dorset
It is hoped that the successful implementation of these schemes will in the long term provide 3,500 high paid and high skilled jobs in Dorset, generating over £400 million in salaries, and contributing over £200 million back into the public purse by 2020.
Recently BU has supported three key grants on behalf of Silicon South through the Higher Education Innovation Fund. First of these is a significant contribution to the marketing and development of Silicon South to make it a success. Support of this initiative will support thousands of jobs over the next five years, as well as facilitate BU’s 2018 objectives to enhance our support for the economic development of the region.
As a pilot initiative for student incubation space BU have also contributed a modest grant to Nestspace to support 7 of our own students on their placement year as they run their own gaming company – Static Games.
A further £1,500 contribution is being made to the We Are Base’s Open Device Lab, the world’s single largest device collection at an open device lab with over 244 devices available for developers to test their apps and websites on. The ODL represents a fantastic resource for our DEC and Media School students. The team at the ODL will give a guest lecture at BU in early 2014, introducing the student engagement programme currently in development and launching ambassadorial roles for students to gain experience through involvement with the lab.
Silicon South is going from strength to strength so if you’d like to be involved please email Sam Leahy-Harland to find out more.