Regional programme

5GIC is proud to be collaborating with major regional partners across the UK.


These partners include:

Enterprise M3 Growth Fund provided £1.75m to fund equipment and staff costs for the original 5GIC testbed facility and to pave the way for engaging local business with the wider project.

It began in July 2015 following completion of the main 5G Innovation Centre and ran until December 2016 when the installation of an emulator system at Basingstoke Incubation Centre was completed. 

Specifically, the 5GIC programme has:

  • Created a vehicle for SMEs to understand, explore and develop products and services that will use 5G technology
  • Created a vehicle for small businesses to engage with major mobile telecommunications companies and explore the joint opportunities presented by 5G technology.

An independent report commissioned by the University of Surrey makes it clear that the project has been very successful in achieving its core targets and performance indicators. These in turn have put in place the necessary infrastructure and foundation stones that will allow further research and development in 5G technologies and its applications.

The wider 5GIC core performance indicators are also relevant in reflecting the growth and progress of the larger project on which the testbed is built. Through EM3’s involvement and its role in bringing the SME community on board, the benefits of these achievements are also being shared with smaller businesses. In turn this will build their capacity to develop new products and services that will work in 5G networks as the technology emerges.

In the next phase of regional development, during 2017, the 5GIC will work with a further £1.75m of EM3 Growth funding to develop the world’s first 5G digital gaming support facility, bringing latest mobile internet technologies to the world class Guildford / Aldershot Gaming cluster. 5GIC industry members have already committed an additional £5m to this programme.

Also, the 5GIC will work to extend its existing network of SMEs to approximately 100, with an increasing focus on supporting company scale up opportunities within the regional digital economy.

We also have the co-working facility Rocketdesk.

Digital Business Acceleration Hub (DBAH) programme

More than 360 high growth ‘digital’ entrepreneurs will receive backing from the European Union European Regional Development Fund (EDRF) for a major new £2.4m acceleration programme launched in September 2016. The three-year programme is supported by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and is led by the University of Surrey and delivered in partnership with SETsquared and local private and public partners. 

The programme is run from hubs in Basingstoke, Farnborough, Guildford and Woking and is attracting talented tech entrepreneurs to and from the Enterprise M3 area with a portfolio of business acceleration support. This includes entrepreneurship training and access to experienced mentors, venture investors and specialist services connected to the University’s 5G Innovation Centre. 

The first two entrepreneur programmes have been heavily oversubscribed, showing a key demand for digital start-up support across the region and a market recognition of the quality of the training provided by the SETsquared and Surrey University team.

To engage in DBAH contact Caroline Fleming.

Creation of 5G "step-out" test facilities for SMEs and start-ups

In addition to the development of the world-leading, large-scale 5G testbed, the 5GIC is working with regional partners to establish a smaller number of smaller, indoor test facilities to service local clusters of digital businesses. The first such "step-out" facility was created in the Basingstoke Incubation Hub, managed by SETsquared.

The Basingstoke 5G facility provides local start-ups and SMEs direct access to an indoor test facility (connected to the Guildford testbed) which allows them to develop and demonstrate new mobile internet products and services for FinTech and other sectors.

The second step-out facility will create a large-scale 5G step-out facility linked to the main 5G testbed to serve the world-class digital gaming business cluster of Guildford and Aldershot. This will provide a flagship demonstrator project to leverage £5m investment from industry partners. It will:

  1. Significantly improve and expand support to the creative digital SME and start up community in a sector with strong economic growth potential
  2. Link with a 3,000 sq ft business incubation and technical support step out facility based on the Surrey Research Park and SETsquared
  3. Link to existing state of the art digital gaming, motion capture and virtual reality test and demonstration equipment at the University of Surrey in the Centre for Vision Systems and Signal Processing (CVSSP)
  4. Link to other important economic sectors such as Health, FinTech and Transport through "gamification", the use of novel games technologies in other markets

To engage contact Michele Dodd.

Digital Catapult: 5GIC 5G Hub at Brighton 

This project aims to promote growth in the digital economy through a combination of 5G infrastructure deployment (supported by C2C LEP capital funding) and creation of an ecosystem of early adopters of 5G applications and services by local business and the research community in Brighton region (delivered through contribution-in-kind by Digital Catapult Centre Brighton partners). The project will develop and demonstrate innovative use cases and their business applications using a deployable next generation (5G) testbed as this technology develops advanced features and capabilities in the period 2015-19. This project also aims to develop a cluster of expertise around this testbed in Brighton and, through links to the 5G Innovation Centre, contribute to keeping the UK at the forefront of the 5G deployment globally.

The project will deploy a functional advanced cellular network infrastructure at, and around, the Digital Catapult Centre in Brighton. The testbed will support specific features (e.g. advanced user profile and device management) from the broad set defined by the global 5G development roadmap and which are currently being developed at 5GIC. Its unique selling point is to provide a test ground towards deployability and usability of advanced 5G solutions as they come out of the 5G development cycle, e.g. from 5G Innovation Centre (University of Surrey), and integrating these activities with real world end-users in Brighton.

This model brings solutions from an advanced R&D activity and testbed (5GIC in Surrey) into an early real-world deployment, and represents an innovative ‘step-out’ approach compared to other 5G development activities in the world. As such it will provide an excellent opportunity in Brighton to engage with national and EU innovation actions and collaborative R&D programs, support the local business ecosystem, and contribute more widely to the UK leading position in the uptake of 5G and the new business models enabled by it – ultimately leading to job-creation in and around the Brighton LEP region.

The initial project partners are Digital Catapult Centre Brighton members (Wired Sussex and University of Brighton), 5G Innovation Centre at University of Surrey, and Digital Catapult in London. The partners have complementary expertise in open innovation, user engagement, business innovation through application development ecosystems, and advanced communication network technologies and design. The activity will be supported by the 5G Innovation Centre, the largest investment in 5G R&D testbeds in the UK.

To engage contact Michele Dodd.

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University of Surrey