Innovation Birmingham’s monthly meet-up, Tech Wednesday, received a dramatic brand overhaul to mark the New Year and encourage the tech community to embrace the ethos of listening, networking and creating.
Running for almost eight years, the gathering represents Birmingham’s community of entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts, with its “new look” having been launched on January 17th.
Comprising mentors, start-ups and investors from across the region to celebrate bright ideas in tech, the meet-up hosted at Innovation Birmingham’s multi-million-pound iCentrum building now boasts over two thousand members. Naomi Watts, Project Manager at Innovation Birmingham, and Tech Wednesday host said:
“This started off as a few businesses wanting to share ideas and get feedback. It’s been great to experience Tech Wednesday’s organic growth, and see it evolve to become what is now one of the biggest networking events in Birmingham’s tech scene.
“Tech Wednesday has also become a solid platform for anyone in the start-up sector looking to showcase what they are doing or share their experiences. Also, by connecting start-ups, investors and likeminded techies, we now also see bigger corporates tapping into this community to integrate innovation into operations, projects and ideas.”
The first Tech Wednesday of 2018 showcased Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) programme, for early stage start-ups and entrepreneurs. Two e4f graduates and a current entrepreneur on the programme highlighted the prosperous outcomes from innovating smartly and utilising the nine months of free business mentoring offered through the programme.
Guy McEvoy, Founder and CEO of bespoke corporate e-learning and online training developer GuyKat, reflected on the significance of the programme in the development of his start-up, now six years on from finishing the nine-month period of mentoring. Guy covered elements including organic growth, hiring staff members, considerations around where to locate the business, and company turnover.
Following Guy’s reflection six years on, Joseph Kibbler, Founder and CEO of e4f graduate company Icarus Parts, providing a platform for replacement car parts from the UK’s most trusted suppliers, held a question and answer session with the Tech Wednesday audience. A quickfire round of intriguing questions covered areas such as covering legal bases, seeking advice from trusted external sources, establishing a unique selling point, and disrupting competitive markets.
Lee Turley, Founder of software company B1 Connect, was enrolled onto the e4f incubator in November 2017, and presented for the first time at a Tech Wednesday in the first session of 2018. Lee highlighted his experiences on the programme, including support from Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR), the mentoring and advice received from project managers, and the results of immersing his operations in a collaborative and open environment.
An expert panel made up of Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham, Cliff Dennett, Head of Business Development, and three Entrepreneurs in Residence on Campus addressed topics including funding, recruitment, building a sustainable business, investment criteria and partnership.
The next Tech Wednesday is scheduled to take place on February 21st, showcasing demos from some of the latest tech start-ups to join the Campus.