Derek Thomas visited Wayra, the Telefónica backed accelerator network on Tuesday 06 February 2018 as part of his Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship* programme focusing on science, technology and innovation.
Since 2012, Wayra UK has helped more than 160 British and Irish start-ups take their businesses to the next level, enabling them to raise around $160m in third-party funding. In addition to the London accelerator, Wayra UK run programmes to encourage start-up development in the Midlands and the North of England, in order to support entrepreneurship throughout the UK.
During the visit Derek was able to see first-hand how Wayra has partnered with some of the world’s leading organisations, including ASOS, Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD) UK and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), to help generate growth, create positive societal impact and fuel innovation in specific sectors through investment.
A highlight of the visit for Derek was gaining insight into various programmes Wayra support including; Open Future_ North a new acceleration and co-working space designed to scale young digital business in Oldham and across the Greater Manchester area and Wayra Call, a cross-industry call for any start-up developing innovative digital products, services and technologies that can shape the world we live in.
The visit also helped to highlight the importance of innovation and skills in the UK, with a particular emphasis on how the Wayra UK programmes go beyond funding, due to their size and expertise, and are able to assist organisations with coaching and mentors.
Derek Thomas’ Fellowship is helping him gain a greater understanding of science, technology and innovation. In particular to see how technology can be imported to Cornwall to create high paid jobs in the region.
Commenting on the visit Derek Thomas said:
“The visit to Telefonica and to see the work of Wayra was fascinating, not least because of the way that Wayra enable and inspire start-ups to develop their ideas and succeed, but also because many of the start-ups that are located at Wayra, some of whom I met, illustrate how digital technology can create wealth and jobs right across the country including rural areas like West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in a way that manufacturing and other more traditional sectors cannot.”