The University of Birmingham has launched a student incubator known as UoB Elevate, which will nurture the best start-up ideas from students and graduates to grow into successful businesses.
Alumni, business and other key Birmingham stakeholders were able to meet more than half of the top 30 companies at a special event this month, ranging from specialist products for dogs with allergies to a new app to help eczema sufferers.
Based at The Exchange in the heart of Birmingham, UoB Elevate is an incubator and business growth program offering mentorship, business planning, workshops and events. 40% of University of Birmingham graduates stay in the West Midlands, contributing to the local economy. This initiative will add to that, bringing growth and investment to the region, helping graduates and students develop their own businesses by creating opportunities beyond established graduate routes.
Dr. Noreen Akram, MD from the University of Birmingham, explains how UoB Elevate is helping launch her new company Eczemadoc. “My interest in entrepreneurship and innovation was sparked during a student event. Now that I’m a graduate, I’m thrilled to be part of the pioneering UoB Elevate program, with my company Eczemadoc, the incubator’s first health tech start-up. We are reimagining the management of eczema and other chronic conditions, so program support will be essential to help us move to the next stage of our development, where we can really start helping people with eczema. .
One of the key aspects of UoB Elevate is connecting local and national businesses to the students and graduates involved in the incubator. HSBC UK, which is located next to The Exchange, is one such company involved in UoB Elevate. Jane Hodges, Area Manager – Great Birmingham, Small Business Banking UK, said: “At HSBC UK we are passionate about supporting start-ups and young entrepreneurs, so we are delighted to welcome the student incubator. and graduates in the city. The number of businesses that students and graduates develop is impressive, so we look forward to working with the University of Birmingham to support these emerging businesses. »
Final year undergraduates, postgraduates and recent graduates at the University of Birmingham can apply for start-up grants of up to £15,000 to help them grow and grow their business, made possible through the generous philanthropic donations from alumni, entrepreneurs and business leaders. .
Dr Nigel Evans, a Birmingham graduate and founding donor of the Elevate Start-Up Scholarships, explained why support for budding young entrepreneurs is essential: “In many ways things were easier when we went to the university, so we want to share the chances we had with young people. UoB Elevate is not a Dragons’ Den type approach, but it creates an environment where people can think like an entrepreneur. Support Startup Scholarships means that we can give young people the opportunity to raise their aspirations and realize their dreams, surrounded by other entrepreneurs and business mentors. I am so happy to be able to share my experience as a mentor to support these young innovators and I am confident that the city and the University of Birmingham will benefit from retaining and nurturing his entrepreneurial talent.”
The various companies entering The Exchange are selected based on their potential. As businesses are supported to their next stage of development, there will be real opportunities for investment, either directly in the business or working with the individual to support their aspirations.
The exchange where UoB Elevate is based aims to reinvigorate the city’s civic vision for modern times by using the University’s role as an anchor institution to bring together multiple stakeholders to address the challenges of our time. and ensuring inclusive growth for the region. The approach will bring the University’s research closer to the people, enabling its work to inform and be informed by its audiences and providing dedicated facilities for collaboration.
More information about UoB Elevate is available online.
For more information, please contact Hasan Salim Patel on +44 (0)7966 311 409 or the out of hours office number on +44 (0)7580 744 943.