Bruntwood SciTech launches programme to support Birmingham’s young entrepreneurs
Bruntwood SciTech is re-launching its Entrepreneurs for the Future (E4F) programme at Innovation Birmingham, the region’s leading digital tech campus, to support the business ambitions of young local talent.
The programme, which will be delivered virtually, will provide inclusive help, support and early direction for a diverse pool of talent from across the West Midlands. Those who are accepted onto the programme will be drawn from young people leaving education, NEETs, those recently made redundant as a consequence of the pandemic and entrepreneurs at the beginning of their business journey.
E4F New Start will support the region’s already-thriving digital and tech start-up scene. Birmingham was recently named the startup capital of the UK for a seventh year running, with the region seeing the number of new start-ups increase by 40 per cent during the pandemic.
Over the course of a year, 150 entrepreneurs will take part. Split into three groups of 50 people, the first month of the programme will focus on supporting the entrepreneurs to shape and assess the commerciality of their propositions, before those with the strongest ideas are taken forward to refine and finesse their business plans.
First launched in 2010, the E4F programme has a proven track record as an incubator for start-up talent. It has supported 220 start-ups, with 60 per cent of companies still thriving two years on – well above the national average of 40 per cent.
One success story is GuyKat, a company which joined E4F in 2010 and has since gone on to secure a Queen’s Award for Innovation.
Today, GuyKat employs 40 people at its headquarters at the Innovation Birmingham campus, and has also expanded with an international office in Florida.
David Hardman, managing director, Bruntwood SciTech - Birmingham, said: “Birmingham and the West Midlands are brimming with innovators, entrepreneurs and people with a passion to pursue their ambitions. The real challenge for the region isn’t being able to generate new ideas and businesses, it’s how to capture them and give entrepreneurs all the support they need for their ideas to flourish.
“Crucially, E4F New Start provides a platform for digital entrepreneurs from a diverse range of backgrounds, particularly NEETs, to develop their business plans when they may otherwise not get the chance. By lowering the barriers to entry, we’re giving Birmingham every chance of fulfilling its potential to be the UK’s hub for cutting-edge digital innovation.”
Guy McElvoy, CEO of GuyKat, added: “Having a business idea is one thing. Establishing the foundations for that
business is another. Getting this right at the start accelerates success. Using the knowledge, expertise and practical
advice from those who’ve been-there-done-that gives you those solid foundations. It’s been a decade since we did the
program. The access to the extensive network of support available, be it mentors or special financing, is a help to any
I’m sure the founders who join the E4F programme will be well-placed to follow in our footsteps and become international success stories for Birmingham.”
Located in the heart of the city’s Knowledge Quarter, the Innovation Birmingham Campus is part of the Bruntwood SciTech network, and is set to be home to the recently announced 120,000 sq ft Enterprise Wharf - Birmingham’s first smart-enabled building.