Meet the team behind Somerset Innovation Network: Sian Davenport - Business Advisor

Fay Daniels
Marketing Manager - Contracts | Business West
28th May 2024

The Somerset Innovation Network (Si-Net) aims to drive growth and innovation in the region whilst fostering meaningful collaboration between forward-thinking organisations.

We caught up with Sian, Business Advisor working on the project to find out more about Si-Net, her role and why she thinks businesses should join. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career background?

I graduated at a difficult time to get a job, so I ended up going back to the independent retail store that I worked at during the holidays whilst at university, but started working my way up the company. I became part of the management team then moved over to a role in a training and consultancy firm and managed a contract which helped re-train people who had been made redundant and supported them to get new jobs.

Later, I set up my own business – we had a large conference facility with a capacity for 115 people in the main room, which we used for events and training. Our catering side of the business was really popular and we ended up catering for external meetings and events too!

What’s your current role at Business West?

I’m the Green Business Advisor within the Business West Enterprise Team, currently focusing on the Somerset Innovation Network project (SI-Net). This initiative provides essential business support to innovative organisations based in the Somerset region.

What type of businesses do you work with in the Somerset Innovation Network?

I work with innovative digital, low carbon, advanced engineering and aerospace businesses in Somerset (and in Dorset if advanced engineering and aerospace).

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

I find great satisfaction in providing support to businesses and witnessing their growth journey unfold. It's fulfilling to be part of their progress and contribute towards their success.

Did you ever have a business advisor yourself?

Yes! I couldn’t have been successful in my business without my business advisor in the beginning, he was such an important part of it all!

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Typically it revolves around liaising with clients and conducting diagnostic meetings, workshops, and mentoring sessions. When I'm not directly engaged with clients, I dedicate my time to developing new workshops aimed at enhancing our support offerings and meeting the evolving needs of businesses. This balance allows me to continuously improve our services and provide valuable assistance to our clients.

How can businesses benefit from joining the Somerset Innovation Network?

The network brings together three innovation centres in Somerset - iAero in Yeovil, Firepool Centre for Digital Innovation in Taunton and SEIC in Bridgwater. Businesses who join the network will have access to these centres, their great tenants and exciting face to face events. For example, the iAero centre located in Yeovil provides the aerospace and advanced engineering sector with access to demonstrations of industry-leading equipment such as additive layer manufacturing, advance embedded measurements, digital workbench, end-to-end measurement solutions (3D scanning), and metrology solutions and there is support to access the supply chain along with expert advice from West of England Aerospace Forum (WEAF).

The newly opened Firepool Centre for Digital Innovation in Taunton is also part of the network and is welcoming tenants who are using digital innovation in their business to transform their operations. It has a fully equipped podcast facility ready to use, and the centre will be hosting a selection of events centred around technology and how the future of business will change as well as giving Somerset Innovation Network businesses access to investors and the ability to meet key stakeholders in the area. 

Best advice to anyone in business?

Take advantage of everything that’s free to you! You haven’t got anything to lose, so just go for it, get your hands on it all!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my family including my two daughters, exploring history through organisations like the National Trust and CADW, running, DIY projects around the house, tending to my garden, and recently started line dancing, which is harder than it looks!


The Somerset Innovation Network is open to businesses in the digital, aerospace, advanced engineering and low carbon sectors. You can find out more here. 

Do you want to join the conversation?

Sign up here
  • Be part of the Somerset Innovation Network

    Receive support from business advisors, attend informative workshops on core business topics, collaborate with like-minded peers and explore ways to grow your business.