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£2m funding delivers stimulus for Birmingham’s entrepreneurs

Innovation Birmingham, Alta Innovations and the University of Birmingham have secured £2.05m funding from the European Union to deliver business support and incubation services for the city’s hi-tech entrepreneurs and SMEs.

The funding sees Birmingham’s two science parks unite to deliver a structured programme of support and mentoring. The combined offering will build on Innovation Birmingham’s digital and Alta Innovations’ life science communities and facilities, which include start-up expertise and experiences across Entrepreneurs for the Future (E4F), BizzInn, and the University of Birmingham commercialisation teams, in addition to The Birmingham BioHub®, a purpose-built facility that provides entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups with access to affordable laboratory facilities and equipment.

In addition to technical support (whether laboratory or IT), businesses will benefit from allocated entrepreneurs-in-residence and local professional experts, through a combination of one-to-one structured support, workshops and networking events. They will be able to locate themselves within co-working spaces at either the E4F Incubator on the Innovation Birmingham Campus, the focal point for Birmingham’s tech/digital community or the BizzInn Incubator (on the Birmingham Research Park, at the heart of the Edgbaston Medical Quarter, adjacent to the University of Birmingham). Support will be provided to eligible companies free of charge, typically over a period of up to nine months, thanks to the support of the European Regional Development Fund.

Katharine Fuller, Head of Projects at Innovation Birmingham, said: “With over 14,152 companies launched in Birmingham last year alone, the region continues to be a hotspot for entrepreneurialism and, with a large, skilled and youthful workforce, established infrastructure and strong digital connectivity, it is vital that we continue facilitate and support new and existing talent by providing the necessary conditions for them to thrive.

“This funding will go some way towards achieving this goal and BizzInn will be a fantastic addition in delivering the next phase of this project.”

David Coleman, Head of Enterprise Acceleration at the University of Birmingham, said: “Through the close collaboration of our respective hi-tech support programmes, we’re providing stronger and more identifiable places for hi-tech entrepreneurs and businesses in Birmingham to access support.  Our interventions will help teams at all stages, from proving the viability of their concept, to building teams and relevant supplier or customer contacts, to attracting finance.”

Since the launch of the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme in November 2009, over 136 tech start-ups have been created, with £12.3 million of investment secured during initial funding rounds. As part of the incubator programme, qualifying innovative start-ups receive up to nine months’ office space, mentoring, use of video conferencing equipment and meeting room and superfast broadband at the Innovation Birmingham Campus.

For more information on E4f, please visit: www.e4f.co.uk

For additional information on Innovation Birmingham, visit: http://www.innovationbham.com

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