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Digital Incubator - Feasibility Study

A feasibility study commissioned by Opportunity Peterborough has made the case for a digital incubator to:

  • Help support small digital businesses
  • Significantly grow the digital economy in the city

A business incubator provides specialist support such as coaching, networking, and access to investment. It can help support start-ups and entrepreneurs build their businesses faster and better, increasing competitiveness and supporting greater job creation.

Project status

This project is complete.


The Government’s Towns Fund gave funding for the study. Opportunity Peterborough has used recommendations from the study to develop a bid to the Shared Prosperity Fund for £345,000. This money will launch the first phase of a digital incubator.


To assess whether we needed a digital incubator, the study analysed:

  • Local market demand
  • Suitability of local premises
  • Feedback from consultations with local digital businesses, educational institutions and workspace providers

The findings show that Peterborough’s digital economy is growing but could grow a lot faster with a digital incubator. There is a heavy concentration of larger digital businesses who are performing well. Smaller digital companies need dedicated specialist support to achieve faster growth. Through a digital incubator, Peterborough could:

  • Address skills gaps
  • Help entrepreneurs develop their business and ideas
  • Encourage more people into digital careers

Why Peterborough is a good city for a digital incubator

Peterborough’s low-cost and high-growth economy was cited as a great advantage for start-up digital businesses. The city’s strengths in high-tech manufacturing and growth of jobs in knowledge-intensive-businesses (KIBs) also suggest it could support a larger number of digital businesses. In fact, the number of KIBs jobs in Peterborough has grown faster than Cambridge in recent years. This indicates a very beneficial environment for digital businesses.

There is also a major opportunity to develop the digital skills that the sector needs through collaboration with:

  • Anglia Ruskin University Peterborough
  • City College Peterborough
  • Peterborough College
  • University Centre Peterborough

An incubator programme could help:

  • Secure employment for people in digital training
  • Connect graduates with ambitious small businesses
  • Encourage entrepreneurship

Recommendations from the project report

You can read the full report on the Opportunity Peterborough website (opens PDF).

The report made a series of recommendations for the next steps Peterborough can take to develop its own digital incubator:

  • Adopt a pre-accelerator programme to support students, entrepreneurs, and small businesses (subject to the Shared Prosperity Fund bid)
  • Continue engagement with education providers, digital businesses, and local networks to build support for a digital incubator
  • Identify a potential partner for a joint venture, or an operator for a digital incubator space
  • Identify a building or site that links with growth aspirations to make the city centre even more of a go-to destination for residents, visitors and commuters
  • Work with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to ensure the digital incubator aligns with regional strategy and unlocks funding opportunities

In line with the study’s recommendations, the bid to the Shared Prosperity Fund included support for:

  • Digital businesses
  • Students studying computer science courses
  • Outreach work to encourage people into digital careers


For further information, please email