Expert town planning advisors Hyas Associates have benefitted greatly since joining the STEAMhouse Business Incubator support hub, growing their network and recruiting a Birmingham City University (BCU) graduate to help expand their business.
Posted 10 August 2022
Convenient location and affordable space
Hyas Associates is a rapidly expanding town planning, master planning and placemaking consultancy.
They first discovered STEAMhouse and its business incubation space in late 2021, when on the lookout for new office space in central Birmingham.
“We wanted a convenient, central location, but we also wanted flexible and affordable space with room for us to grow,” explains Stephen Hill, Director at Hyas Associates.
“We were very struck by the friendly and open nature of BCU, and the desire to support small businesses to collaborate and grow. The links into the BCU community also appealed to us.”
So far, Stephen and the team have found the experience to be excellent.
“The STEAMhouse team have been very accommodating and friendly,” he says. “The facilities are excellent and very accessible.
"Our wider staff and visitors have been very impressed, and we look forward to more businesses joining the community.”
Exciting graduate support
Hyas Associates have been so impressed with STEAMhouse and BCU that when it came to taking on graduate support, they knew where to turn.
“We felt it was an obvious opportunity to explore if there were any suitable candidates from BCU’s Property Development and Planning course, which we knew had a good reputation,” Stephen explains.
“We felt the opportunity to base a student in STEAMhouse meant we could provide the one-on-one support needed to help a graduate develop their career with us.”
The successful graduate is Olivia Griffin (pictured), who is looking forward to pursuing one of her favourite areas of study in a work setting.
“When I read the job description, I knew straight away that this would be my dream role,” Olivia beams.
“I knew from the outset that Hyas Associates were my dream company. They are heavily focused on placemaking, one of my favourite modules on my degree.
“I can tell that this will be the perfect place to start and progress my career. I will be working as a graduate planner, working with the team to help and support new housing schemes in the country. I’ll be involved in a broad range of strategic planning.”
Olivia loved studying Planning and Property Development, and truly believes that more prospective students should be made aware of it.
“It’s an interesting course and covers a broad range of skills and knowledge,” she enthuses.
“Since completing my course and working with a multitude of disciplines across built environment, I truly believe that there is something within the sector for everyone."
Olivia is also thankful to BCU for offering this opportunity to students.
“Without BCU advertising this role, I wouldn’t have seen this opportunity and I couldn’t be more pleased with the role I’ve secured,” she says.
“It’s motivating to know BCU are so supportive of students’ career progression past the graduation stage.”
Exploring further links
Buoyed by the positive relationships Hyas Associates have formed since joining STEAMhouse, Stephen is excited by the future.
“We’re definitely keen to explore further links with the University,” Stephen says.
“We’re already arranging a professional networking/guest speaker event at STEAMhouse and will be offering opportunities for students to become involved, to develop their understanding of the profession and benefit from networking opportunities.”
Richard Scutt, Head of Growth and Incubation at STEAMhouse, explains, “Hyas Associates is exactly the type of business we are currently supporting and they represent yet another example of how fantastically well our pilot BCU incubator works.
"Hyas shares our vision for collaborative business innovation in Birmingham and we have every confidence that Olivia will thrive in this environment.”
The STEAMhouse Incubator program was made available courtesy of UKRI funds in 2021 and is supported by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.