A Cabinet Minister visited Sussex Innovation - Croydon last Thursday, speaking with the support team and several member businesses. The Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP was in Croydon to learn more about the borough's burgeoning Croydon Tech City movement, endorsing the support for digital, technical and creative businesses in the region as a "blueprint for the future".
During his tour of the Sussex Innovation hub, the Minister spoke with Director, John Coupland about the organisation's ambitions to help more high-growth businesses in Croydon to scale. He also met with Market Research Advisor, Kelly Roche, and was interested to hear about the important role that customer insight plays in the Sussex Innovation business support model. Researchers regularly conduct in-depth interviews on behalf of members, to identify emerging problems and needs within a given industry and inform product development.
The minister also heard from three of the first businesses to join Sussex Innovation - Croydon; ethical financial services company QuidCycle®, public procurement specialists Spend Network, and Heads Above the Cloud, who produce virtual 3D environments for the construction sector.
"We were delighted to meet the Minister," said Helen McNally, Project Manager at Spend Network. "As a champion of open data, he was interested to find out more about the uses we have made of government data on spending, including our work on fraud and error."
"Matt Hancock MP's visit enabled us to share our concerns over the recent loss of funding to help start-ups and SMEs like ourselves to survive," said Patrick Price, Co-founder and Director of Heads Above the Cloud. "As creators of immersive interactive digital content, we were pleased to demonstrate to him products which both surprised and entertained. He left supporting our vision, but with the knowledge that without policy changes businesses like ours will founder."
Matt Hancock MP became the latest of several high-profile politicians to visit No.1 Croydon over the past year. In April, then Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP described Sussex Innovation - Croydon as creating "huge new opportunities for the local area", while the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, Anna Soubry MP formally opened the new hub in October. Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, was also present at the opening and has visited on a number of occasions.
Matt Hancock MP and Frank Mukahanana, Founder and Director of QuidCycle®
Patrick Price, Co-Founder of Heads Above the Cloud, discusses small business funding with the Minister
The Minister discusses open data with Ian Makgill, Owner, and Helen McNally, Project Manager at Spend Network