UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 16 MAY
A multi-mullion pound innovation centre, which has helped create more than 50 new West Midlands businesses, has celebrated its first year since opening.
Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects’ STEAMhouse initiative, which provides space and state-of-the-art facilities for businesses, artists and academics to collaborate, reached the landmark this week after launching in Digbeth in 2018.
STEAMhouse was formally opened on 15 May (2018) unveiling a fully refurbished new home and a suite of equipment to support businesses, ranging from 3D printers and laser cutting machinery to virtual reality technology and printing studios.
The project was created with the aim of embedding arts into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines to create new innovative ideas and boost economic growth.
New figures revealed at the event showed that since opening STEAMhouse has:
- Supported 50 new enterprises
- Created 24 new research collaborations
- Provide £67,500 in financial support
- Seen 45 new products and processes created
- Had over 1,000 visitors each month
- Provided more than 6,580 hours of business support
- Held 85 public events
- Hosted challenge events to solve major problems facing the West Midlands
The birthday brought together some of the most successful businesses to have accessed STEAMhouse to date, including ventures which have spawned automated wall-painting robots and innovative furniture designs.
Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, cut the cake, to formally mark the anniversary.
Professor Beer said: “Local businesses are at the heart of the economy in this region and providing space and facilities for new ideas to form, and to grow, is central to underpinning growth in our region.
“From new enterprises starting and new collaborations forming to tackling some of the challenges facing the West Midlands the STEAMhouse community has already made a telling contribution in its first year.
“I’d like to congratulate everyone here and hope we can welcome many more collaborators through our doors in the coming years.”
The celebration comes after planning chiefs gave the go-ahead for Birmingham City University to restore a historic Birmingham factory to house STEAMhouse’s second phase.
Birmingham’s 120-year-old Belmont Works building will be revitalised by the project, having stood derelict since being hit by a fire.
Professor Beer added: “Coming at a time when STEAMhouse is preparing for its next phase of development this is a fantastic way for us to mark our first year and usher in a new era.”
The STEAMhouse facility was masterminded as a place where SMEs and artists can work together on new projects and business ideas.