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STEAMhouse initiative has celebrated its first year since launching in Digbeth in 2018.

Article by Birmingham Updates:

STEAMhouse, the innovation centre, provides state-of-the-art facilities and workspace opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, artists and academics to collaborate. Masterminded as a place where SMEs and artists can collaborate on new projects and business ideas, STEAMhouse has helped to develop more than fifty new businesses in the last twelve months.

Created by Birmingham City University in partnership with Eastside Projects and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England, STEAMhouse invites original business thinkers to collaborate and innovate. They have specially designed spaces including a fabrication facility for experimentation with metal, wood, digital and print production to develop new ideas and prototype new products, with a focus on four growth sectors – Creative & Digital, Advanced Manufacturing, Health & Life Sciences and Low Carbon. Advice from industry experts and practical business support is also available, with potential introductions to others within different fields.

With over 1000 visitors a month, it was revealed at the celebration that STEAMhouse has achieved a number of successes since its opening:

  • Provided £67,500 in financial support within 27 different grants
  • Created 45 new products and processes
  • Supported 50 new enterprises
  • Organised 85 public events
  • Given 6,580 hours of business support
  • Gained 249 registered uses

During the celebration numerous businesses who have gained success with STEAMhouse were showcased, including a wall painting robot which climbs up the wall and paints at a speed three times quicker than a human decorator, an amp system that people can build at home, a gaming vest and new ideas for creating acoustic guitars.

Harry from Hausbots, the Wall Painting Robot, said:

“STEAMhouse has really helped with the early trialling and testing phase, they’ve got some fantastic workshops here and they’ve offered fantastic support especially on the engineering and testing side. Myself and my business partner who mainly deals with the business side both use STEAMhouse. He absolutely loves the co-working space out the front and the business support that they can provide… It’s got absolutely everything you’d want for prototyping a product like this.”

Susie, an acoustic guitar maker said:

“Being at STEAMhouse has enabled me to make new models, new ideas, basically share new techniques with people and also have access to facilities that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. In a collaborative space like this you can really problem solve together, inspire each other and support each other. The facilities are fantastic but it’s so much more than that.”

Professor Julian Beer – Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University – was invited to formally mark the anniversary by cutting the cake.

Professor Beer said:

“Local businesses are at the heart of the economy in this region and providing space and facilities for new ideas to form, and to grow, is central to underpinning growth in our region. The level of creativity and ingenuity on display in some of the businesses we’ve seen here today, show just how big an impact connecting the arts with traditional science disciplines can have. From new enterprises starting and new collaborations forming to tackling some of the challenges facing the West Midlands the STEAMhouse community has already made a telling contribution in its first year. I’d like to congratulate everyone here and hope we can welcome many more collaborators through our doors in the coming years.”

In addition, the go-ahead has been given for Birmingham City University to restore the 120 year-old Belmont Works building for the exciting second phase of the STEAMHouse initiative.

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