On Monday 2 March, the STEAMhouse Incubator opened for business. The facility will help new entrepreneurs to create sustainable businesses, and ensure their products or services are market-ready and commercially viable.
The STEAMhouse Incubator, which is located on the ground floor of Millennium Point, has space to support up to 40 start-up businesses, with the aim that the majority of these will be run by students and graduates.
It will also connect to the University’s existing STEAMhouse facility in Digbeth, providing a space for product and service designers to sustain themselves and turn their business ideas into a reality.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Julian Beer said: “Seeing the STEAMhouse Incubator open its doors marks another important step for BCU’s STEAM journey, and for supporting our student and graduate entrepreneurs and innovators.
“The West Midlands’ growing population of entrepreneurs makes it the ideal place for a new way of doing business, and we are delighted that this project will help us continue our leading role in placing STEAM at the heart of its economy.”
The first new business clients at STEAMhouse Incubator will be Ones and Fuel Communications.
Simon Caulton, Owner and Founder of Ones, said: “I’ve signed up to the STEAMincubator because two years ago I left work to care for my daughter who was diagnosed with Leukaemia. During this time, drawing on my experiences, I started my own business, Ones Leisure Trainers.
“Juggling a start-up business and care responsibilities has been at times lonely and tough. It’s been frustrating and difficult to know where to turn to get the right advice and support. At times, I have just needed a sound board to talk through my ideas or have a brainstorm.
“Working out of the STEAM Incubator will bring me into contact with like-minded people; some at different stages in their business who can provide much needed advice and support. There is access to information needed to give direction in key areas such as business, legal and financials, access to workshops and networking events, and a great opportunity to talk with other entrepreneurs and start-ups.”
The STEAMhouse Incubator has already attracted support from local businesses and organisations, including the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and legal and professional services group Gateley. Headquartered in Birmingham, Gateley provides entrepreneurs with the legal and professional guidance they need to turn business ideas into innovative products and services.
Group Marketing Director Vikki Whittemore said: “Gateley is proud to support forward thinking businesses as STEAMhouse Incubator’s first commercial partner. Gateley’s partnership with STEAMhouse Incubator demonstrates our commitment to innovation, diversity and local business.”
BCU secured £531,627 from Research England’s Development Fund to kick-start the STEAMhouse Incubator programme, which will move into STEAMhouse Belmont Works when the building opens next year.
To find out more about STEAMhouse Incubator please email STEAMincubator@bcu.ac.uk