Tech or digital start-up businesses are being encouraged to accelerate their growth by applying to Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator programme. The application process has been launched as the Serendip® Incubator’s new home at the £8 million iCentrum® building rapidly nears completion. The Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator will cover almost 12,000 square feet 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 an additional incubator. These will be delivered by Innovation Birmingham in collaboration with key partners, with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network collaborating in the Digital Health quarter. The other partners include Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult, RWE npower and Barclays. The ethos behind the space is to harness the power of serendipity, stimulate collaborative working across the four sectors 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 1 April and will be supported by Innovation Birmingham’s mentorship programmes, enabling 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 and access to more than 100 evening networking events and workshops. The Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator is open to UK wide start-ups, but they will need to relocate to the iCentrum building in the West Midlands in order to be supported by the corporate partners.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham, said “With access to all the innovation challenges that healthcare practitioners and managers identify, start-ups will be able to market-test their product or service and gain access to big data and exclusive insight into innovation in the healthcare industry.
“The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network will be a fantastic asset to our Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator and we look forward to collaborating with them to deliver our common mission of encouraging innovation across the region by linking the digital expertise in the region to personal healthcare needs and healthy living interests.”
Dr Christopher Parker, Managing Director of the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, said: “We are very excited to be the corporate partner in the Digital Health quarter of the Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator. As an AHSN, we seek out digital innovations that have the potential to improve the health of the population and create wealth within the region, and it is our ambition to make the West Midlands the UK’s first truly digital health economy.
“However, while many industries have embraced digital working, healthcare has yet to fully capitalise on these opportunities. Furthermore, the most important challenge facing start-ups is proving that there is a market for their product or service. We will be working closely with the successful start-up companies from day one to maximise their chance of success, supporting them to develop products for which there is a real demand and need from the healthcare sector. This will help the start-ups unlock investment, create the best version of the product and ultimately, bring that product to market for the benefit of patients.”
To apply for Serendip®, please visit www.innovationbham.com/start-up-support/serendip-incubator/.