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Startup Support in...Portsmouth and Southampton

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by Startacus Admin

Portsmouth and Southampton startup support
Portsmouth and Southampton based early-stage startups and entrepreneurs take note - here's the lowdown on key startup support and help available where you are...

Away from the established startup hubs like London, the startup support and help in the UK for setting up a business isn’t always so clear. It’s not a lack of support, just a quieter ecosystem that takes a little more work to unearth. We want to help with this by highlighting what some UK cities, which might not spring immediately to mind at the mention of ‘startups’, have to offer.

From startup support in Oxford, we’re going south again to two cities sitting side by side, in friendly harmony we’re sure. Portsmouth and Southampton are so close together that we’re putting them in one article.

Co-Working space

Innovation Space in Portsmouth offers both hot desking and permanent desks. Fully serviced with included access to meeting rooms, you’ll be one of a network of over 40 Portsmouth and Southampton startup helpSMEs.

Tech Dojo in Portsmouth is for, as the name suggests, tech startups. Hot desking, including breakfast bar desks, and fixed desks are available. Those who find everything comes with starting a business a little overwhelming, Tech Dojo offers additional services to help out, including payroll, accounts, invoicing, mentoring and coaching, and more, and they are looking to offer seed and VC funding.

Cell Block Studios in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard is based in the Victorian naval prison, with each cell offering two desks. You can hot desk, share with a cellmate, or take up a cell to yourself. Free tea and coffee and discounted gym membership are just a couple of the perks.

SO Fourteen in Southampton offers fixed desks, flexi desks, hot desking for 5-10 days, and day passes. Breakfast and refreshments, printing, showers, and gym discounts, are just a few of the things included. They also offer additional services and support such as fundraising, marketing, IT, debt collection, and more.

Ocean Digital in Southampton is a tech company that also offers desks starting at half a day up to monthly, and offers the basics (which includes tea, coffee, and biscuits, of course). This one is only open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, though.


The University of Southampton, in partnership with Santander, is running the SEED Startup Funding Competition for students. There is the Santander Germinate Fund for the earliest stage of idea generation (£500) and the Growth Fund (£2,500).

Portsmouth and Southampton startup helpThe Solent Prosperity Fund has £10,000 to £100,000 in funding available for startups in the area of Southampton, Portsmouth, and the Isle of Wight. There are some other funding opportunities through Solent, so be sure to have a look around their website; though some do rely on the EU, so bear that in mind.

Nest offers two levels of funding for students and graduates of the University of Portsmouth. For testing an idea, you can apply for up to £300, or for developing your idea, you can apply for up to £1,000. This fund is currently closed, but keep your eyes open for it opening again.

Every month, Small Business Grants holds a competition for small businesses to win a £5,000 grant. This one is for all of the UK, not just Portsmouth and Southampton, so competition is stiff.

The startup ecosystem and programmes

SETsquared is a partnership with several universities, including the University of Southampton, and runs a business incubator and accelerator. It includes the mentorship, business support, investor readiness training, and more that you would expect from such a highly regarded platform.

Discover Southampton has a handy list of current and upcoming business events in the area so that you can Portsmouth and Southampton startup helpkeep up to date on those important educational and networking opportunities.

For University of Southampton spinouts and other startups looking for funding and more, Future Worlds has a listing for you to display yourself and show what you are looking for, be it funding, mentors, collaboration, customers, etc.

Future Worlds again, and this time the startup accelerator they offer. It is based in the University of Southampton and is aimed at those working on cutting-edge tech. The accelerator offers talks, workshops, pitch events, and more.

Nest, whose fund we mentioned above, is also an incubator for students and graduates of the University of Portsmouth. They offer advice and support, workshops, co-working space, networking opportunities and a host of useful resources.

At the free-to-attend Portsmouth Business Expo 2019 in July, you will find seminars, high-paced speed networking, and inspirational keynote speakers, as well as a variety of exhibitors showcasing the very best of local and regional businesses.

As always, this is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to let us know at if you think there is a particularly deserving entity in any of these categories.

Here's our ongoing list of the key startup support and help in many of the UK's major cities.

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Published on: 4th February 2019

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