Entrepreneurs for the Future Centre
Topic of the practice
Support to SMEs
Good Practice Information
Entrepreneurs for the Future (E4f) Centre is a funded project that provides incubator space for new business start-ups at Birmingham Science Park Aston. In this role it is helping to create new businesses and through offering integrated business support and provides the conditions to assist in early growth including fit-for purpose premises. This offering promotes the regeneration agenda to diversify the region's economy, create new jobs in high-growth sectors and retain more of the city's graduate population. A steering group for the E4f project has been set up which includes representatives from Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA) including the incubation unit, universities in Birmingham and Birmingham City Council. Entrepreneurs for the future Centre has been supported from funding from UK central govenment's Working Neighbourhood Fund and through ERDF succession finance. The facility at Birmingham Science Park Aston provides a base access to a complete business support package with a view to transforming early-stage businesses into investment-ready propositions. Beneficiaries of the programme are offered an initial period of 6 months' free access to a multi-occupancy incubation unit with full ICT support with free access to the BSPA Ideas and Communication Suite which comprises the CISCO's video conferencing system which allows start-up to connect with a global directory of investors and mentors. The programme now can provide smart incubation for a period of up to 12 months, which includes access to the retained Entrepreneurs in Residence, who help build a robust action plan and accelerate the development of the business into a commercial enterprise. Also offered is access to space, advice on raising finance, start-up resources, showcasing opportunities and investment days.
Evidence of success
The establishment of the E4f programme was supported by UK government funding (Working Neighbourhood Fund) and managed by Birmingham City Council between September 2009 and March 2011. During this period full achievement of output targets was achieved: 76 Entrepreneurs Advised ; 20 Business Created; 40 jobs created. This led to successful bid to ERDF for succession funding to continue the development for the E4f programme. During the first 24 months of the E4f programme 50 companies were established. During this time to two new units have been added including a specialised gaming incubator allowing for significant expansion of the E4f offering. Sponsorship for the programme has been secured from two professional firms in the locality.
The E4F facility has been continued by Birmingham Science Park Aston through additional ERDF funding until Dec 2015. This is a result of the programme assisting in the creation of over 100 businesses and 170 skilled jobs.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Suresh Patel/ David Messenger
Birmingham City Council