Two new appointments provide a boost to Innovation Birmingham’s start-up programmes

Innovation Birmingham Campus’ incubation programmes for tech and low carbon start-ups are being boosted by the appointment of Kate Martin as European Projects Assistant and Michelle Rayner as Programme Manager for the Entrepreneurs for the Future centre.

Kate Martin has been appointed to manage the Pioneers into Practice exchange programme, which provides 30 Midlands-based climate change practitioners with high-level domestic and continental European placements.  She also works on Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Incubator, which provides 11 start-ups per year with a structured programme of support and office premises, plus the opportunity to bid for up to €20,000 of grant funding to take a new low carbon product to market.

As Programme Manager for Innovation Birmingham’s flagship Entrepreneurs for the Future centre, Michelle Rayner will undertake a wide range of activities to support the annual intake of at least 25 new tech start-ups per year. She will also coordinate the activities of the mentors, commercial partners and three recently appointed Entrepreneurs in Residence.

Prior to joining the Innovation Birmingham team, Kate Martin spent five years working at Advantage West Midlands as a Programme Evaluation Manager. Michelle Rayner has previously worked for Birmingham law firm SGH Martineau LLP and London-based Clifford Chance and Nabarro Solicitors. Prior to joining Innovation Birmingham, she spent three years working for the Midlands office of construction firm Volkerfitzpatrick.

Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar, Head of Projects at Innovation Birmingham said: “I am thrilled to welcome Kate and Michelle to the team. Both are very experienced at managing projects and working with a range of stakeholders to deliver outputs. Pioneers into Practice, the Low Carbon Incubator programme and Entrepreneurs for the Future are reliant on European funding, which involves a considerable amount of structured management. Both roles also involve a lot of liaison and support to entrepreneurs embarking on their new ventures, so require a diverse skill-set.”

Since November 2009, 74 new innovative technology businesses have been born in the Innovation Birmingham Campus’ Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) centre, which to date have already created over 140 new employee and director positions. The Entrepreneurs in Residence spend at least one day a week working with the start-up businesses.

Michelle Rayner, Entrepreneurs for the Future Manager at Innovation Birmingham said: “I am very excited to have been appointed to this role. The Entrepreneurs for the Future centre is a truly unique environment that brings together tech entrepreneurs with a range of expert mentors, investors, and potential customers who are willing to undertake market-testing prior to a public launch. From what I’ve already seen, there is such a buzz to the place and a packed programme of events and informal peer to peer mentoring really drive the community spirit.”

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