Is The South Coast The UK’s New Tech Hub? With Tech Nation’s Elizabeth Corse

9 Mar 2022
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Is The South Coast The UK’s New Tech Hub? With Tech Nation’s Elizabeth Corse

Is The South Coast The UK’s New Tech Hub? With Tech Nation’s Elizabeth Corse

On the 5th episode of the Let’s Talk South Coast podcast, Nella is joined by Elizabeth Corse, Scaleup Engagement Manager at Tech Nation. They discussed how the South Coast is fairing in Tech Nation’s report and what the South Coast can do to become a contender in the tech scene. They touched on diversity and climate tech as well as the ‘Oscars for Technology of Entrepreneurs’. The key takeaway from this episode is that every region has a feel, a cadence and a rhythm and in order for the South Coast to be a contender against other areas of the UK we need to double down on what makes us great.

Key Insights From This Episode:  

  • There was a time when the idea of producing unicorn businesses (businesses that are valued over a billion dollars) was unthinkable, and now we are into the mid-hundreds of unicorn businesses that have been created here in the UK. – Elizabeth 
  • Starling Bank’s decision to open an office in Southampton marked an important chapter in Southampton’s emergence as a tech hub for the UK. The company made breaking out of London’s FinTech bubble its mission. – Nella 
  • In the world of tech, it should not all be happening in London. – Elizabeth 
  • 45,000 people have left London in the last two years. – Nella 
  • Diversity of thought and diversity of experience is what is going to make tech more workable. – Elizabeth 
  • If you don’t have diversity within the various solutions that you’re building, how can you service a global audience? – Elizabeth 
  • After a high of 2% funding going to female founders in 2020. We then dipped back down in 2021 to not even 2%, it was 1% of female founders got funded. – Elizabeth 
  • What female founders need is money, not more mentoring. – Elizabeth  
  • 40% of the technologies we need to help us solve climate issues don’t exist. – Elizabeth 
  • With real estate, we’re going through this massive transition and PropTech is going to be the way forward. – Nella 

About Our Guests: 

Elizabeth Corse, Scaleup Engagement Manager at Tech Nation. Elizabeth is an individual contributor whose passion is supporting tech scaleups, she has become a trusted advisor for many of the scaleup teams she support across the South East region.  

As Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for the South East she spends her days searching for, connecting with and supporting innovative tech scaleups in her region. She is a self-confessed tech fanatic with a particular interest in all things Net Zero, Climatetech and Sustainability (let’s just call it PlanetTech) and tech for productivity (ie tech she cannot live without includes Loom, Bridge, Hubspot, Workspace, Slack, Orbit and Zoom).  

As a super-connector, her single biggest impact is spotting an introduction or connection that can help a founder or leader facing a particular scaling challenge. Her superpowers are building relationships, trust and communities which has resulted in an extensive network.  

2021 was the year she leaned into sustainability for work- setting up a community of climatetech scaleups called Net Zero Nation, completing the Climate Emergency short course at Oxford University (achieving a 92%) and moderating Tech Nation’s climatetech panel in Glasgow at COP26. I am a founding member of Tech Nation’s Environation Group and am developing Tech Nation’s Decarbonisation Strategy with my Environation colleagues.  


[01:25] What are your initial thoughts of Login Business Lounge coworking space? 

  • I spend a lot of time looking and working from different coworking spaces across the region and this one has blown my mind.  
  • It breathes community and breathes sustainability.   
  • So much of what’s happened here has been based on recycling and upcycling.  

[04:20] Can you tell us a little bit more about what Tech Nation’s purpose is and the metrics that you’re using to rank locations in the Tech Nation report.  

  • Tech Nation is here to support ambitious scaling tech businesses. 
  • Tech Nation’s role is non-profit organization that is here to connect and enable digital tech businesses from across the UK.  
  • We run growth programs; six month-long programs, that group companies together either by the stage or by their stage and their sector. 
  • We run Global Talent VIsa which is an incredible mechanism for bringing global talent from overseas to the UK. 

[08:15] Can you share how the South Coast cities are faring when it comes to ranking? 

  • The main metric that we’re using is venture capital dollars. One of the main drivers of innovation in the Southeast is also innovate UK funding for grants, for developing innovation. 
  • What we are here to do is to help raise everybody so we’re tending to not focus so much on ranking our UK cities, we’re here to promote the UK as a great place to scale a tech business. 
  • When we look at where the VC dollars go into at the moment, many of the South Coast cities don’t factor or don’t register. 

[11:30] In order for us to compete with the likes of Oxford, for example, what else could we be doing? 

  • Every cluster has a feel, a cadence and a rhythm. 
  • It is very important for regions to double down on what makes them great.  
  • The best initiatives are the ones where it’s grassroots movement, people, individuals coming together and bringing their skills to their bit. 
  • Something that I think would be very useful is to have a non-affiliated finance advice service. 

[16:00] Is there something that Tech Nation is doing to facilitate those from disadvantaged backgrounds to support their upcoming?  

  • We are two women and we know what it is like to work in tech and diversity of thought as well as diversity of experience is what is going to make tech more workable. 
  • What the regions have to do is offer as many things, free if possible, at the point of use. They need to really engage with their local community, try and remove as many of the barriers and actively go out and search for ways that they can understand what’s needed and what’s necessary. 
  • Tech Nation have developed a diversity and inclusion toolkit to try and help break down where to start. 

[22:25] You’re a judge for the Enterprise Award, also known as the Oscars for Technology of Entrepreneurs, can you tell us a little bit more about that and how companies can get involved?   

  •  The application window has just closed, but keep an eye out because it happens every year. 
  • Trying to spot late-stage tech companies and bring them together to really celebrate UK technology and entrepreneurship. 
  • My interest in Climate Tech started when I became a mum and I thought that things are going slightly wrong. My interest is rooted around the fact that we have a very short time in which we can actually help bring about a reversal in our carbon emissions. 

[27:35] We’re going through an evolution of change and how we do things, which tech has obviously been a great enabler, can you share some insights into some of the key themes and trends that we will see tech cross tech companies nationally? 

  • Region and location have never mattered more and never mattered less.  
  • What’s keeping up most scale-ups at night is hiring talent. 
  • It all comes down to how you manage that culture change as you grow bigger. 

[31:45] Quick Fire Questions 

1.Who are the movers and shakers of our region?  

  • Barclays Eagle Labs – Mark Walker  
  • Southampton Science Park – Jane Holt  
  • SETSquared  
  • BCP Council 
  • Portsmouth and Southampton University Teams  
  • Inspiration Space, Winchester   

2.What is your favourite mantra?

  • The grass is greener where you water it. 


Companies Mentioned: 

Shout Outs: 

About Our Host 

Nella Pang 

I left the corporate world in 2020 and launched Omega RE a commercial advisory firm in a pandemic, whilst on maternity. Brave some people would say. 🚀 

The pandemic has taught many of us a thing or two, particularly on how we can do business. I support businesses to navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate, so they can achieve their business objectives through their Real Estate decisions. 

Lease negotiations can be a minefield. Even small mistakes can drive up costs. That’s why I will represent your interests every step of the way, ensuring you receive full value of our experience and market knowledge. 

With over 18 years’ experience in the Commercial Property Market having worked for the big corporates Jones Lang LaSalle Limited, BNP Paribas Real Estate and Vail Williams. 

I want to be able to share my corporate knowledge with my clients, whilst offering a more personal dedicated commercial advisory service. 

Having acted for a wide range of clients from major pension funds to private investors, small businesses and individuals. I love meeting people and I am passionate about adding value to my clients business and watching their business thrive. 

About Omega RE 

Omega RE is commercial property advisory firm based on the South Coast. Providing expert advice to Landlords, Occupiers in the industrial, office and retail markets. 

Omega RE is always thinking ‘Outside the Box’ in our advice to clients and the way we do business. We don’t settle for mediocre, we challenge the norm and are dedicated to finding solutions that is best for our clients. 

We are a people business, based on strong relationships and partnerships, and we offer a personal level of service. 

As the market evolves, we will too adapt to be successful and want the same for our clients. We are committed to finding innovative ways of marketing and how to do things more efficiently. 

We will never stagnate. 

We are disciplined in everything we do, we take time to understand the situation and set a bespoke strategy for each client. Not one size fits all. We do not cut corners or take short cuts and our integrity is undisputed. 

Providing clients’ a hands on approach to finding the perfect property; office, industrial, warehouse or retail space to meet business needs and negotiating the best commercial lease terms, is what we do best. 

We come to work because we’re passionate about providing expert, innovative, independent advice to clients. We want to help businesses navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate. 

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