What is Protospace?

Protospace is a community led initiative to support, connect, and grow the tech ecosystem in Milton Keynes.

Protospace brings individuals, businesses and organisations in Milton Keynes together to connect, collaborate and share knowledge.

Working in close partnership with Milton Keynes City Council and key stakeholders, we represent and support our community through a vibrant and inclusive programme of events, activities and resources, underpinned by a collective strategic vision for technology and innovation in Milton Keynes.

Our unique city is a pioneering place designed to nurture experimentation, innovation and growth. We seek to create a smarter, sustainable and successful city that provides a home for creative minds and a playground for groundbreaking technology.

Our story

Protospace was founded in September 2020 by Oliver Waters, Richard Wiggins and Simon Wright, following long term conversations around the desire to accelerate the development of the local tech community.

Initially backed by Milton Keynes City Council through their Post-COVID Economic Recovery Fund, Protospace delivered a vibrant programme of events and activities over 2021/22 to restart and reconnect the community post-lockdown.

Following on-going discussions around the strategy of the local ecosystem, Protospace partnered with Whitecap Consulting on the 2022 Milton Keynes Tech Ecosystem Report. The report provided a more complete understanding of the local ecosystem and identified new opportunities for its strategic development.

In 2023 Protospace announced a partnership with Milton Keynes City Council and Whitecap Consulting to establish an independent advisory group. The group will lead on developing a tech strategy for Milton Keynes to ensure the entire ecosystem – anchor employers, educators, SMEs, investors, and emerging tech talent - is well supported, working together and making the most of growth and innovation opportunities.

Building on a culture of innovation

With a longstanding history of innovation, Milton Keynes is widely recognised as one of the UK's fastest growing cities with the fourth highest number of business startups in the UK.

At the heart of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, Milton Keynes has already established itself as a testbed for both national and international smart mobility projects as well as a hub for cutting-edge technology and innovation. A combination of strong transport links, close proximity to London and its culture of innovation has made it’s an ideal place for technology companies of all sizes.

Ranked the second best place to work in the UK by the Times, Milton Keynes is home to a highly skills workforce with over 6,000 software engineers and 4,000 data engineers. It's cutting-edge research facilities and world-class technology clusters have attracted leading businesses from the technology and manufacturing sectors.

An ambitious strategy for 2050, rapidly growing economy (set to grow 9.9% in 2021, the fastest rate in the country) and upcoming new undergraduate university, provides the foundations for a bright future.

Protospace is for the community, by the community
The Team

Oliver Waters

Oliver is an entrepreneur specialising in digital product design, user experience and strategy. He has over 20 years experience working on bootstrapped and venture backed startups in the technology sector. Oliver founded Momento - the popular automatic journal for iOS, Orbit - a community platform for professional groups, and runs d3i, a local consultancy specialising in digital products. He is also the founder of Made in MK; a long running event aimed at connecting the tech community in Milton Keynes.

Richard Wiggins

Richard is a designer with a specialism for online and digital platforms. With over 20 years of knowledge working between front end development, user interface design and digital strategy. Richard is also the co-founder of MK Geek Night, a long running, quarterly conference and networking event for the creative and tech industry. He is a co-founder of Pooleyville, a multidisciplinary creative agency working at the intersection between art, design, technology and placemaking.

#design #community #startups

Simon Wright

Simon is the current Artistic Director of MK Festival Fringe and former Curator, Public Programmes at MK Gallery. With over 15 years’ experience designing and delivering multi-disciplinary arts programmes, projects and commissions; fundraising; cultural strategy and partnership development. Alongside Richard Wiggins, he is the co-founder of Pooleyville.