British tech businesses unlock partners Down Under

British tech businesses unlock partners Down Under.jpg

Innovate UK’s Future Cities Innovation Mission returns with international business opportunities for UK innovators


  • 15 delegates, 10 days, 2 forward-thinking cities
  • Over 50 potential investors and collaborators met
  • Dozens of product demonstrations to trading partners
  • 1 Australian business founded, 1 business collaborator secured by day 1, 1 award won
  • 1 transformative Innovation Mission to Melbourne and Sydney, enabling UK innovation to Go Global and helping to increase UK business export, currently less than 11% 

As part of its ongoing commitment to help more innovative UK businesses than ever to unlock global opportunities, Innovate UK welcomes back a delegation of the most promising innovators and entrepreneurs to the UK. They return from a ground-breaking Future Cities Innovation Mission to Melbourne and Sydney; a mission to address many of the barriers innovators face when expanding globally.

Early results reveal that the mission has unlocked potential business partnerships, investment and export opportunities related to sustainable city living and smart infrastructure; from environmentally friendly transport solutions and smartphone-enabled replacements to key fobs, to cloud-based energy platforms and state-of-the-art automated fare collection. It is these connections and opportunities, created by the Innovate UK-led mission, that will ultimately help to increase UK business exports and, in doing so, bolster UK productivity. 



Unlocking global collaboration for local innovations            

Having introduced the delegation to the international players at the forefront of building smart, sustainable and connected future cities, the impact of the Innovation Mission has been immediate for many UK SMEs:

  • Stephen Leece, Citi Logik: Using both 3 and 4G network data to create detailed urban analysis, Citi Logik is able to help public sector organisations understand the movement of citizens in cities; by vehicle, on foot and by public transport. Stephen made full and immediate use of the introductions facilitated by Innovate UK, by teaming-up with a local company on day one. In addition to an international collaborator, Stephen returned to London having met with Vodaphone, KPMG and state transport officials.   
  • Julian Turner, Westfield Technology Group: From its headquarters in the West Midlands, Westfield Technology Group create forward-thinking, environmentally friendly transportation for use both on the road and in private locations. Its presence on the mission did much to move them closer towards realising their ambition, to become the ultimate driving and passenger experience for environmentally friendly vehicles. During his week in Australia Julian not only set-up a new local company but also unlocked an influential partner; Ordnance Survey. Julian will be returning to Australia to build on the foundations he laid during the Innovate UK-led mission, in June.  
  • Olly Browning, Doordeck: Doordeck, based in Manchester, replaces keycards, fobs and access passes with the one card everybody's already carrying: their smartphone. With little to no new hardware, they can make any electronic lock cloud-based, giving people a whole new way to control their space. While in-mission, Olly was able to demonstrate the value of Doordeck’s technology in 3 venues across Melbourne and Sydney; helping to build tangible awareness of their offering in a way that is not possible while in different locations and timezones.
  • Graham Oakes, Upside Energy Ltd: Every time you hit a switch, somewhere a power station has to work a little bit harder. That is great for coal or gas, but it does not work for renewables; the sun will not shine more brightly just because you want to boil the kettle. The cloud platform developed by Salford-based Upside Energy uses algorithms and AI to match demand for energy with available supply; helping us make better use of both conventional and renewable energy, saving costs and emissions. The mission to Melbourne and Sydney enabled Graham to build connections with decision makers in the Australian energy market, as well as his knowledge and understanding of the region; in addition to potential collaborators, Graham returns with a clearer picture of comparators. 
  • Sandra Sassow, SEaB Energy: SEaB Energy, headquartered in Southampton, provide mobile and containerised small-scale anaerobic digestion technology. The Flexibuster™ and Muckbuster™ create energy, water and fertiliser from organic waste, offering an alternative to standard waste processing. In doing so they reduce costs, diesel consumption and the carbon emissions generated by transporting waste. The mission to Melbourne enabled Sandra to meet with key players in the sector, generating tangible interest in her SEaB’s offering.

Ian Meikle, Clean Growth & Infrastructure Director at Innovate UK had to say of the mission: ‘Unlocking the potential of all the UK’s towns and cities is key to the success of our Industrial Strategy.  We can do this better and faster when we collaborate with international peers, innovating together to address key priorities, from mobility to clean growth.  The UK and Australia face many shared challenges and  have a long history of collaboration, making this the perfect partnership to consider the future of our cities.’


A great island of untapped potential

With 95% of global R&D and innovation being conducted outside the UK, access to knowledge, markets, skills and partners increasingly takes place globally. Innovate UK recognises that a lack of access to local knowledge remains a fundamental barrier to the UK’s overseas business success; from visibility of potential collaborators and their lessons, new technologies and approaches, to new commercial opportunities and research.

Innovate UK believes that the most disruptive innovation can only occur when great and diverse minds meet and get access to the support mechanisms that will help realise their ideas. It also recognises that the world’s most challenging problems – from economic and social to environmental and health – can be solved by connecting innovative individuals and creating networks between them.

Triss DuncanComment