University launches entrepreneurship and enterprise space for students and graduates

The STEAMhouse Pre-Incubator, located on the Ground Floor of Millennium Point, will provide Birmingham City University (BCU)’s student and graduate cohort with the opportunity to develop skills and concepts, as well as access valuable programmes, workshops and facilities.

Posted 05 September 2022

Supportive environment for budding business owners 

BCU will build on its excellent performance in establishing student enterprise with the launch of a new dedicated pre-incubation space, which will provide students and graduates with the support they need to flourish.

The STEAMhouse Pre-Incubator will provide the University’s student and graduate cohort with the opportunity to develop key skills and business concepts, as well as accessing valuable programmes, workshops and facilities.

The space, located in BCU’s Millennium Point building on the Ground Floor, will provide a supportive environment for people to launch a business venture, as well as foster fresh opportunities for new partnerships and exciting collaborations.

It will offer a host of support measures to all students and graduates, home or international.

Support at every stage of the journey

The STEAMhouse Pre-Incubator has been mapped out to provide support at every stage of the journey, from the moment a student begins their first year until after they graduate.

First and second-year students will have access to hands-on workshops, enterprise programmes, tailored advice and the Pre-Incubator’s facilities.

They will then, upon reaching the third year of study, be able to hot desk, attend various invaluable events, network with professionals and gain key guidance from our business support experts.

All eligible students and graduates will also have access to The Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN), which offers students and graduates a package of intensive startup support for new ventures.

Final-year, Master’s and PhD students – as well those that have graduated from the University within the past 18 months – can enrol on the Pre-Incubator’s STEAMhouse Hatchery programme.

The Hatchery, which launched in the summer of 2022, offers participants the chance to earn part of a £10,000 prize fund in order to launch their own business.

International students and graduates with a viable, scalable business idea also have the opportunity to be awarded a Startup Visa from the Pre-Incubator, which would allow them to stay or return to the UK for up to two years to set up and run a business.

STEAM work 

The Pre-Incubator forms part of BCU’s STEAM offering, which encompasses a number of exciting facilities and support programmes, including the STEAMhouse Incubator, a business startup support service located in the University’s new STEAMhouse innovation centre, where Pre-Incubator members will graduate to once their businesses begin to generate revenue.

The Pre-Incubator reflects BCU’s continued commitment to employability, which has resulted in 97.4 percent of alumni working or progressing into further study within six months of graduating.

It also builds on BCU’s mission to be the University for Birmingham, enabling personal transformation, and ensuring students and graduates have the skills and support to make a positive contribution to the region.

“BCU’s vision is about transforming lives and entrepreneurial education provides an amazing backbone for people to learn how to establish a business of their own or gain valuable skills to support a more entrepreneurial impactful approach in any business. 

"It will give them lifelong skills to transform themselves and open there minds to a range of future employment options,” says Joanna Birch, Director of Innovation, Enterprise and Employability at BCU.

“We are dedicated to ensuring our students and graduates can access and utilise spaces such as the Pre-Incubator, and meet and connect with useful networks and experienced entrepreneurs, to build a network of contacts that can support them throughout their life.”

STEAMhouse Pre-Incubator’s support and facilities arrives at an opportune time, with university graduates starting 4,000 new businesses every year, and the number of startups from students and graduates reaching record levels.

Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at BCU, feels the Pre-Incubator reflects the University’s mission:

“We are committed to providing an opportunity for students and graduates to learn by doing and practice in an environment where they engage with businesses, mentors, leading figures and their fellow peers.

"It’s a place where our students and graduates can transition into the world of work and make a positive contribution to the city.”