Innovation Birmingham has launched its application process for its upcoming Serendip Smart City Incubator programme, as the site’s new £8 million iCentrum building rapidly nears completion.
A core element of Birmingham’s ‘Knowledge Hub’, the 11,845 sq ft (1,102 sq m) Serendip Smart City Incubator, will be based on the first floor of iCentrum and will co-locate promising start-up businesses with large commercial partners. Within these challenge-led incubators the commercial partners will help to mentor qualifying early stage tech companies and may, in turn, become customers or distribution channels for the start-ups.
There will be at least four sector-specific Serendip ‘quarters’: Digital Heath, Intelligent Mobility, Internet of Things and Barclays Eagle Labs, which will be delivered by Innovation Birmingham in collaboration with; the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult, RWE npower and Barclays. The ethos behind the space is to harness the power of serendipity and encourage the translation of ideas, relevant to the Smart City agenda, into new products and services.
Successful applicants for the Serendip Smart Cities Incubator will be based at iCentrum from 1st April 2016, and will be supported by Innovation Birmingham’s mentorship programmes, which enables them to work directly with commercial partners to market-test and refine products and services. These businesses will also benefit from free high-tech office space, mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs; a 180-seat presentation auditorium with 7m+ wide HD presentation screen and access to over 100 evening networking events and workshops.
Providing space for 400 high-value skilled tech jobs at any one time, iCentrum will generate £25 million of GVA per annum to the local economy and is the first building to be completed within Innovation Birmingham’s £40m development zone.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham, said: “We are thrilled to be working with these corporate partners to deliver the Serendip Smart City Incubator, so creating a unique facility in the UK. This challenge-led programme will provide a fantastic opportunity for UK start-ups to work directly with established commercial partners and benefit from their longevity and expertise.
“Working with these partners is very exciting for the region and will help us to further drive the city’s reputation as a national centre for digital excellence, as well as helping to create many new high value jobs in high-growth businesses which will have fantastic economic benefits for Birmingham. We are committed to nurturing new talent and providing the right support and facilities to ensure these businesses stay and excel in the city.”
The Innovation Birmingham Campus is currently fully let, with an extensive waiting list for space from new and growing tech businesses. Significant investment has ensured its 135 technology tenants can already access 30Gbit/s broadband speeds – equalling the fastest internet connection available anywhere in the UK. Construction has also recently begun on the 5,812 sq ft Universities Centre, which will act as a detached extension of the site’s Faraday Wharf building and will further enhance the site’s already impressive tech offering.
To apply for Serendip, please visit: www.innovationbham.com/start-up-support/serendip-incubator/