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8 March 2018 | Innovation Catalyst launches at Reading's new tech incubator helping the Thames Valley strengthen its leadership in the field

Posted: 09 Mar 2018
  • Innovation Catalyst – a new partnership aiming to boost Reading’s tech ecosystem – formally launches at Thames Valley Science Park
  • The venture is backed by VitalSix, Barclays Eagle Labs, Henley Business School and Thames Valley Science Park
  • Accelerator programmes, co-working, incubation, mentoring, introductions to major firms and other services to help Thames Valley tech and innovation led businesses start-up and scale up


Innovation Catalyst: a collaboration between Barclays Eagle Labs, VitalSix, Henley Business School and the University of Reading owned Thames Valley Science Park (TSVP) has today formally launched. The incubation and work space at TSVP’s Shinfield site in Reading is an integral part of a comprehensive offer to innovators to encourage collaboration and foster innovation among the entrepreneurial business community.

Together, the venture aims to boost the Thames Valley tech sector, helping entrepreneurs start-up and scale up and to take advantage of its location in one of Europe’s largest tech clusters.

The new Innovation Catalyst provides a 65-seat work space, and will also be home to the Barclays Eagle Lab Flight accelerator programme for up to 12 individuals, designed to shape and scale the next generation of Reading and Thames Valley tech businesses.

The Barclays Eagle Lab Flight 16-week accelerator programme delivered by VitalSix, will offer tech high growth small businesses intensive support and will focus on creative thinking, participation and cross collaborative working, as well as access to expert mentoring and introductions to major firms and a programme of events.  By the end of the programme the participants will aim to have a clearly defined, innovative and marketable service or proposition, with the potential to scale-up to help give the region’s tech community a crucial boost.

David Gillham, Executive Director of Thames Valley Science Park who spoke at the launch event said: "The Thames Valley is renowned internationally as a centre for innovation and knowledge-based companies. As a partner in Innovation Catalyst, Thames Valley Science Park shares the vision to create a much needed anchor for innovation; it is the physical centre of a virtual community to bring closer together businesses, the University of Reading, investors, expertise and more. At Thames Valley Science Park we take a supportive, flexible approach - specialist facilities and the dynamic mix of companies already here make this an exciting place for ambitious companies to grow."

Gary Chugg, Barclays Head of SME, Thames Valley said: “Tech is an area where the UK has every reason to become a world leader. The Thames Valley is home to some of the leading tech firms in the world and we want to help build on the success of this sector, and play a leading role in transforming innovative firms in the future.”

Barclays has a network of Eagle Labs across the UK and Reading is the 15th to be launched, following success working with similar partnerships at locations including Brighton, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Susan Elliott, Managing Director of VitalSix Ltd said: “VitalSix is delighted to be part of the exciting Innovation Catalyst partnership to drive innovation in the Thames Valley. Combining great business ideas with the right expertise, funding and talent enables scale up businesses to go further, faster. The addition of a dynamic new work space at Thames Valley Science Park allows entrepreneurs and early stage businesses to learn, develop and network together and with the wider community of mid-sized companies, corporate, and research organisations.

Innovation Catalyst is supported by a dedicated Eco-System Manager and the local Barclays teams, to provide help and advice to local companies and entrepreneurs from across Thames Valley.

Those wishing to take part in the Barclays Eagle Lab Flight accelerator programme and find out more should visit and contact the VitalSix team at [email protected]


For further information on Barclays Eagle Labs, please contact: Julia Husband on 07775 555626 or [email protected]


Notes to Editors

About Barclays Eagle Labs

Barclays Eagle Labs are spaces set up by Barclays to help businesses create, innovate and grow. They also operate as community resources supporting digital empowerment for all. Their focus is to drive digital skills development, productivity and economic growth, and support job creation.

There are now 15 locations across the UK (including Reading), where entrepreneurs can reside, access mentoring, funding and events.

Eagle Labs facilitate and deliver learning and activities such as coding, 3D printing and “maker” facilities and rapid product prototyping, hackathons, as well as offering business incubation, mentoring and co-working and office space for ambitious businesses.

Since the opening of the first lab, over 100,000 individuals have used the service, ranging from ‘makers’, entrepreneurs and fast-growing businesses, children learning to code, and large corporates.

About VitalSix Ltd

VitalSix has a long track record of working with the leaders and top teams of high growth companies to more effectively innovate, scale up and secure investment. Members of the VitalSix team have started, grown and sold their own businesses so they have the practical knowledge to help businesses get it right first time. As well as working with Barclays to deliver its Eagle Flight accelerator programme, VitalSix is managing Innovation Catalyst to facilitate and coordinate the services brought to the Thames Valley through this partnership.

Twitter: @VitalSix

LinkedIn: VitalSix Ltd

Website: VitalSix

Contact: Susan Elliott, 0118 304 0660, [email protected]

About Thames Valley Science Park

Thames Valley Science Park. The £35 million ‘Gateway' building, which opened in March 2018 provides 70,000 square foot of space for around 20 companies who are the first tenants of the Science Park.

The Thames Valley Science Park will eventually deliver approximately 800,000 square foot of flexible laboratory and office space in a campus style setting designed to encourage collaboration. Once completed, the Science Park will have the potential to provide up to 5,000 new jobs.

The initial investment in the ‘Gateway' building includes £30 million from the University of Reading and £5 million from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund.

Over 70 companies have already chosen to locate at TVSP’s Whiteknights campus and many more will be located at TVSP’s Shinfield campus. They represent a diverse range of technologies and sectors from digital media to pioneering medical diagnostics. The University of Reading’s investment in TVSP is a key mainstay of a strategy that reinforces the University‘s vision to ensure graduates are well placed to meet the needs of leading-edge businesses and that its research has relevance and impact to individuals and enterprise growth.   

Website: TVSP

Contact: Carolann Grandison, 0118 378 5761, [email protected]