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STEAMhouse Incubator opened its facilities on March 2nd 2020 only to be shut due to the coronavirus pandemic a few weeks later. The incubation facility is Birmingham City University’s new business incubation service, centrally located on the ground floor of Millennium Point. Working to support students, graduates and local entrepreneurs who wish to start and grow their own business. Due to the current enforcement of the third national lockdown, the facility is closed until further notice but business continues as usual.

How has STEAMhouse Incubator adapted to offer its business services through lockdown?

Despite the hardship faced through its first year of operation, STEAMhouse Incubator continues to support and take on new clients, currently working with 12 diverse businesses at different stages of development. As lockdown has continued to change working life, STEAMhouse Incubator adapted its outlook and looked at ways it could continue to offer its clients the assistance they needed.  

Online workshops and virtual learning has paved the way over the last 11 months, in which all their monthly events ranging from Intellectual property, understanding finances, building an online profile and the basics of a viable business were hosted through the platform, Microsoft Teams. However, the Incubator has also provided e-Learning tutorials that allow individuals to acquire knowledge at their own pace and develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Similarly, factsheets, in which the Incubator has access to over 8,000 have been distributed to help those in every stage of their business progression understand the technicalities, legalities and fundamentals of becoming a business owner and maintaining success. Programme Manager Richard Scutt, has appointed one to one meetings with all clients to maintain their bespoke experience and deal with the obstacles the current pandemic has provoked. In doing so, a new relationship with The Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has been established in which Incubator clients have also become members of the GBCC to enhance business opportunity and alliances. Lastly, the Incubator has been working co-inside Birmingham City University academics to supplement their teaching and course content, help students understand the fundamentals of business and encourage entrepreneurship.

Want to start your business? Here’s 5 top tips to starting your business in lockdown:

1. Do your research and take advantage of your spare time. Use this time to become up to date with the market and become an expert in your sector.

2. Create a business plan. Map out your aims, put things into perspective and reduce the risk of failure.

3. Attend workshops and webinars. Use this time to attend as many online events and workshops related to your sector and and/or business advice (everything is online now and much more accessible, often even free, STEAMhouse Incubators are!) Click here to find out more.

4. Don’t do it all alone. Seek professional help and services along the way, don’t waste time and money doing things you aren’t quite sure about.

5. Don’t be afraid of failure. Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars!

Need support for your start-up? Or want to learn more about the STEAMhouse incubator business workshops and services click here to find out more or email STEAMincubator@bcu.ac.uk

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