Global entrepreneurs encouraged to relocate to Barnsley

An aerial view of Barnsley.

Global entrepreneurs encouraged to relocate to Barnsley

Entrepreneurs from across the world looking to cash in on the growth of the Internet of Things are being encouraged to join a new support programme in Barnsley.

The IoT Tribe North is a 12-week intensive programme for start-ups who are developing products for the Internet of Things, with the chance to pitch to potential investors and travel to South East Asia on a trade mission.

The Internet of Things covers any hardware or device connected to the internet, from smart fridges to heart monitoring devices.

Up to ten start-ups from across the globe will be hand-picked to join IoT Tribe North, which is backed by Innovate UK, Barnsley Council and Capital Enterprise.

The fledgeling companies will be based at Barnsley’s Digital Media Centre, where they will be given intensive coaching in product development, market testing and investment readiness, as well as the opportunity to join trade missions to Europe and South East Asia.

They will be supported by a project manager and an engineer in residence.

Across Europe the IoT Tribe has already helped 130 companies scale up from start-ups to successful businesses.

Tanya Suarez, CEO and founder of IoT Tribe, said: “Yorkshire has a strong engineering and manufacturing heritage and is seeing emerging digital specialisms, especially in Barnsley with the work going on at the Digital Media Centre, so we believe this is the perfect location for IoT Tribe North.

“We want to strengthen the ties between corporates and start-ups, helping both to find stronger positions in their markets and grow in a way they couldn’t without each other.

"Our mission is to get the start-ups to their first big enterprise sale and our corporates to their next big revenue generator.”

One product that has been developed with support from IoT Tribe is Moggie, a smart collar, which monitors cat activity and connects to a phone app.

Vasantharaj Bharathi, director of Swedish company Moggie, said: “IoT Tribe was instrumental in taking our ideas and helping us turn them in to reality.

“It is one of the very few accelerator programmes which focuses on the full market readiness for IoT start-ups including business need, target market analysis, manufacturing and go to market.

"Anyone with a great IoT idea should certainly apply to join the cohort in Barnsley.”

IoT Tribe North is being launched at a special event at the Digital Media Centre on November 29, with plans for the ten successful start-ups to begin on the programme in January. To be eligible businesses must be early-stage, UK- registered IoT companies, with an existing prototype, some evidence of product-market fit and two or more founders.

As part of the programme there will be lab space hosted by Barnsley College to help the start-ups improve their products and services. There will also be a range of networking events to connect the start ups with other companies across the region. And at the end of the 12 weeks the businesses will still receive support, including investment brokering.

Tracey Johnson, Digital Media Centre project manager, said: “The programme will integrate Barnsley even more into the digital and innovation landscape and reinforce the Digital Media Centre as a destination for cross sector collaboration and Industry 4.0.

“Nurturing these companies also creates opportunities for more and better jobs for local people in the long run, and puts Barnsley on the national and international map as a hub for digital activity.”

The Digital Media Centre has already been behind digital initiatives such as Connected Manufacturing and TechTown.