Held on the evening of the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, it was understandable that guest speaker Lord Prior of Brampton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was unable to attend, being still detained in a locked-down Palace of Westminster. In his absence, it was Ordnance Survey CEO Nigel Clifford who stepped up to the plate to welcome the 70 or so business angels, early-stage investors, industry watchers and existing and potential project partners who had come to find out what might be the next big thing in geotechnology.
Having just been in a conversation with government about Ordnance Survey’s direction of travel, Clifford said there was now a consensus that geospatial data is regarded as one of the general purpose technologies for any nation. “This notion of geospatial being at the heart of many different applications is beginning to take root, which is a very cool thing for the country,” he remarked. There can be no doubt that this transformation has been aided over the past seven years by the growing number of datasets made freely available as OS OpenData and which have been downloaded almost two million times for a variety of purposes. Needless to say, Hub projects have been given a head start in making good use of this valuable resource.
While Ordnance Survey had supported Hub projects to the tune of £750,000, others were now stepping-up and committing substantial sums (£5.2 million at the last count). “That is testament to our support for the Hub not being a philanthropic, charitable or token gesture, but rather a kick-start that can generate real businesses with real profits and real job-creation opportunities,” said Clifford.
The five projects hand-picked for this year’s Spring Showcase were drawn from the Hub’s Accelerator Programme. This guides individuals through an intensive six-month process in which professional business support and developer resource is made available to evolve their business proposition.
All credit to project participants, and to Hub manager Alex Wrottesley and his team, for mounting another highly successful and rewarding showcase, the next iteration of which is scheduled for later this year.