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According to research, it is predicted that SMEs in the UK’s top UK cities will contribute £241bn to our economy by 2025. The research from Hampshire Trust Bank, in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also shows that Birmingham contributed just over £6bn in 2016 and is on course to deliver £8bn in 2025.

SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and with the ability to make such a significant contribution, it’s important that they are supported to sustain growth and continue delivering new innovations to market. New and innovative business ideas are what get most entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-up businesses out of bed in the morning. With the freedom to do it their own way, these new ideas are often the foundations of a bright future.

However, innovation doesn’t always come easy. Launching a new product to market is hard. Even established, well-respected brands find it tough, costing them a fortune in R&D and marketing resources. No matter how big the ambition or great the idea, the reality for a SME to bring a new product to market can be daunting, especially with limited funds and resources. Access to the right facilities to design, build and stress test your concept can be a massive hurdle but if your new product idea can’t be properly tested or developed, where do you go from there?

Well, there is a resource available to SMEs that can potentially provide them with all the creative space, equipment and technologies they need to help bring their products to life. Universities not only have the facilities, but they are also a hotbed of creativity and knowledge and can help SMEs grow and develop their products.

Many universities will welcome entrepreneurs to come and use their facilities, technologies and workspaces. An investment in the latest equipment or technologies can often be too costly an investment for a SME or entrepreneur, but some universities can offer use of their state-of-the art facilities and workspaces for free or for a small charge. On site advice and expert knowledge is also on offer to help entrepreneurs make the most of the facilities on offer to them and to support them in their innovation journeys.

This is why we have created STEAMhouse, a new facility in Digbeth, powered by Birmingham City University. Our purpose built facility has been launched to help the region’s entrepreneurs bring new products to life, supporting their growth and boosting the local economy. Visitors to our facility can take an idea into STEAMhouse and work with our team to create an action plan for developing, making and commercialising their product.

Innovators are then invited to take advantage of our fabrication space and state-of-the-art equipment which includes free access to all the latest makerspace technologies including 3D printers, lasercutters, bandsaws and screenprint beds. Experienced technicians are also on hand to offer advice and guidance and support in using the equipment.

American entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn once said: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t you’ll find an excuse.” Don’t let the ‘not knowing how’ be the reason for your business goals to remain unfulfilled.

To find out more about how STEAMhouse can support your business ambitions, book onto a tour via our events page.