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Innovation Birmingham partners with Wayra UK to deliver new Serendip Smart City Incubator quarter

Innovation Birmingham has announced that Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future_, has become the latest commercial partner to join the Campus’ Serendip Smart City Incubator.

The facility, named Open Future_Midlands at the Serendip Smart City Incubator, will open up a wealth of opportunities for tech and digital start-ups across the region and wider UK market. In total, two cohorts of five start-ups will enjoy six months of pre-acceleration each, with the best businesses asked to join the full acceleration Wayra UK programme and receive up to £34,000 in investment.

The hub forms part of a wider strategy – led by Telefónica Open Future_ – to democratise entrepreneurship opportunities by identifying, developing and promoting the breadth of talent and technological entrepreneurship that exists throughout the whole of the UK.

Located on the first floor of the £8 million iCentrum® building, the Serendip® Smart City Incubator co-locates promising start-ups with commercial partners in one of four ‘quarters’: Digital Health, Intelligent Mobility, Internet of Things (IoT) and Eagle Labs. As part of the Incubator, start-ups benefit from free co-working space for six months, access to mentoring and Wayra UK’s network and knowhow, as well as training in entrepreneurship and business skills. To complement Serendip®, start-ups will also be able to leverage a state-of-the-art event and meet-up space on the ground floor for up to 500 people.

Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), said: “I’m extremely pleased to announce Wayra UK as a new resident to the ‘TechBrum’ cluster and the further strengthening of the UK’s start-up ecosystem. Birmingham itself is an entrepreneurial hotspot. Not only does the city have the highest number of new start-ups and active businesses outside of London; it also boasts incredible transport links; access to talent through four leading universities; a lively entertainment and cultural scene; a diverse population with an insatiable appetite for business and all the right ingredients to foster further innovation.

“The launch of Open Future_ Midlands will follow that of Open Future_ North in Greater Manchester and forms part of a wider strategy – led by Telefónica Open Future_ – to work alongside local and regional partners to reinvigorate entrepreneurial ecosystems, energise local economies and democratise entrepreneurship. Wayra UK aims to achieve this by identifying, developing and promoting the breadth of talent and technological entrepreneurship that exists throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Cliff Dennett, Head of Business Development at Innovation Birmingham, said: “We are really delighted that Telefónica Open Future_have chosen the Serendip Incubator at Innovation Birmingham as Midlands partner for Wayra UK’s start-up support activities. Wayra’s recognition of both the City Of Birmingham‘s and Innovation Birmingham’s potential to create world-class start-ups and associated support is a real testament to the energy and opportunity in our region. Birmingham has made enormous progress over recent years in encouraging entrepreneurship and Innovation Birmingham’s partnership with such a recognised, internal accelerator as Wayra provides another leap forward for the city.”

The call for start-ups to join Open Future_ Midlands is now open via wayra.co.uk/call and will close on 17th October. The semi-finals will take place on Thursday 27th October, with the final being held on Thursday 17th November. Wayra UK will hold an official launch event at Innovation Birmingham Campus on Wednesday 12th October. RSVP via https://goo.gl/MrL4vc

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