As the 95th tech start-up enrols at Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future centre, a new post has been created to assist with the increased number of young companies going through the incubation process. Now into its fifth year of operation, Entrepreneurs for the Future’s start-ups have secured over £3.5 million of investment during initial funding rounds.
The latest four new tech ventures to be accepted onto the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supported programme are: AsDesigned Games, Incus Games, Trebuchet Games, and Roomie. The latter of these is an app to enable spare room hunters to assess potential housemates, described as a cross between well-known online portals AirBNB, GumTree and Tinder.
The new recruit is Naomi Watts, who has joined the Entrepreneurs for the Future team as a Programme Assistant.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “The continued growth and expansion of our specialist tech incubation centre is a really positive sign for the city. In 2013, Birmingham was the top location outside of London for new start-ups, with 16,281 companies being launched here – almost 5,000 more than the next contender; Manchester. It has been well documented that digital and med-tech firms account for a big number of the new start-ups across the West Midlands.
“So, on a numeric basis, Birmingham is a top location for start-ups, but it is important that these companies then grow to be substantial and long-lasting. Launching a new business in a sector specific incubation centre ensures it has a much better chance of succeeding and becoming commercially viable in a short period of time.
“The tech start-ups who are based at the Entrepreneurs for the Future centre are mentored and coached by our team of Entrepreneurs in Residence, who establish the best routes to finance. Visiting expert sessions, a whole series of events, networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support are also essential contributors to the incubation ecosystem offered here. Recruiting Naomi Watts to join the expanding programme will be a great asset to the team and the work we do.”
The latest trio of digital gaming companies to enrol onto the incubation programme includes AsDesigned Games, which creates games with unique core features for mobile and tablet devices. The second is Incus Games; an ensemble of digital game developers, audio designers and script writers who are currently working on a debut title aimed at the visually impaired community. The third in the trio is Trebuchet Games, which is looking to focus its portfolio on British-based history and events that will appeal to a broad international audience.
In addition to the coaching, mentoring, access to finance, and the events programme, those enrolled onto Entrepreneurs for the Future benefit from six months free office space, telecoms, meeting rooms and superfast broadband. The programme is creating at least 25 new tech start-ups per year, strengthening Birmingham’s knowledge community with businesses with real growth potential.
Innovation Birmingham has designed its tech incubation programme in order to capture serial entrepreneurs – such as the team behind Droplet – 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.