The STEAMhouse Hatchery is an exciting, 10-week competition for final-year, Master's and PhD students - as well as recent graduates - to access regular support from business experts, collaborate with peers and be in with the chance to win part of a £10,000 prize fund.
An amazing opportunity for students and graduates
The STEAM Hatchery is designed for those with an innovative and exciting business idea who wish to develop it into a viable business.
Students can enter individually or as part of a team.
The programme is limited to 100 places and is open to third-year students (including international), and alumni that have graduated within the past year.
Participants will compete for a share of the £10,000 prize fund and the chance to start their business in STEAMhouse Incubator.
The ten-week programme culminates in participants submitting a business plan and presenting their business idea to a panel of judges.
Expert advice from BCU academics and local business leaders
Over the ten weeks, participants attend taught sessions, learning vital skills in:
- Building a sustainable business model
- Creating an efficient sales strategy
- Perfecting business pitches
- Financial planning
Furthermore, there is also the opportunity for participants to spend another day working on their business plans, collaborating appointed mentors and learning from experts who can help them develop their idea.
Throughout the programme, participants are based in the new STEAMhouse innovation centre, a 120,000 sq ft building that boasts state-of-the-art production space, workshops, meeting rooms and cutting-edge technology.
Taught sessions are delivered by facilitators from a range of disciplines, offering experience and key insight to help participants develop their skills and their business idea.
Turn a dream into a reality
STEAM Hatchery provides students and recent graduates with a vital opportunity to learn important skills and turn their business idea into a functioning enterprise, all with the support of STEAMhouse Incubator.
The Hatchery also looks to meet Birmingham City Council’s ambitious new levelling up strategy by providing students and graduates with the chance to create their own employment opportunity and build the skills modern employers seek.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Julian Beer says that the programme matches the University’s demand to power regional transformation and ensure its students have the skills needed to succeed in modern business.
“As the University for Birmingham, we are committed to providing a transformative experience for our students and graduates, one that brings together multiple disciplines and ensures that they have the attributes needed for their future careers,” he says.
Richard Scutt, Head of Growth and Incubation at STEAMhouse, feels this initiative is another example of BCU providing hands-on employability support.
“Recent startups like Gymshark and Lounge Underwear have shown to people that, with the right support and access to facilities, they can create a viable business that can grow. STEAM Hatchery provides them with the tools to achieve this,” he says.
“If you know of a student or graduate that has the attributes and determination needed, let them know that this is a vital new programme for them.”
"This programme is a gift"
The first ever Hatchery took place in the summer of 2022, with over 60 participants working on their business plans. All of them felt that the programme gave them more skills, knowledge and confidence.
“I’m a designer but I wasn’t necessarily a businesswoman,” says Sophina Masih, one of the STEAM Hatchery finalists.
“When I first started on the programme, I had no idea about the business side of things. I didn’t know about net profit, margins, cost sheets, how to get investors on board… this programme taught me the ins and outs of business. Having a programme like this is a gift.”
Rishika Bhalla, another finalist, also spoke positively about the Hatchery’s influence and support.
“It had really useful sessions, week in and week out, where I got to look at my business idea from a clear lens and understand what I want it to be,” she explains.
“It really pushed me to think about areas of my business I wouldn’t normally consider and helped me to grow my vision for the business.
“I have gained so many skills and become a more well-rounded person. I’d 100 per cent recommend the Hatchery to others – it gives you the confidence to believe in yourself and bring your passion to life.”