Six new tech start-ups have enrolled on Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future programme. Since the launch of the programme in November 2009, 111 start-ups have been created, with over £7.8 million of investment secured during initial funding rounds.
Entrepreneurs for the Future is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). To date, close to 200 new employee and director positions have been created. The latest new tech ventures are: Borroclub.co.uk, which is an online platform that enables people to borrow household items from others living close by; Eye Tracking Analysts, which is undertaking research and development on innovations in eye tracking; Hopper, which enables marketers to schedule posts on Instagram; Language Garden, which creates online interactive materials to teach literacy and languages; Stride Education, which is developing a 3D learning system; and Voltrics, which is undergoing product design and innovation in electronics.
The six new start-ups will receive up to nine months office space, telecoms, meeting rooms and superfast broadband at the Innovation Birmingham Campus. In addition, they will benefit from structured mentoring from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, regular visiting expert sessions, a series of workshops and events, networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support. All of this support comes for free; Innovation Birmingham does not take an equity stake in the start-up businesses, as enrolment onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is part-funded by an ERDF grant.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “The continued growth of the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is driving the success of the Innovation Birmingham Campus. Our new iCentrum tech incubation centre will be open for business in March 2016, which will enable us to deliver much more activity and provide state of the art space for new and growing tech businesses.
Launching a new business in a sector specific incubation centre ensures it has a much better chance of succeeding and becoming commercially viable. We have a full-time team working in the centre, together with the three Entrepreneurs in Residence, who guide, drive, motivate and facilitate connections for the start-ups, to ensure they become investment-ready and/or revenue generating in as short a time as possible. “
Mike Bandar, Co-founder of Hopper said: “Developing a new business can be a tough and testing time. At the Innovation Birmingham Campus, everyone is either launching or growing a tech company, so the atmosphere and peer to peer support is fantastic. Opportunities naturally emerge to collaborate on projects and get instant feedback on ideas.
The structured aspects of the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, such as the regular sessions with our Entrepreneur in Residence, are also a really valuable way of ensuring all the right opportunities are maximised and nothing crucial is missed. During every session, new contacts and ideas are formulated.”
Innovation Birmingham has designed its tech incubation programme in order to capture serial entrepreneurs, who as individuals are working on more than one project concurrently. The Innovation Birmingham Campus is open 24/7, enabling people to work flexibly, or cram in the hours when needed.