£100,000 to be shared across 9 low carbon start-ups on Innovation Birmingham’s accelerator programme

£100,000 to be shared across 9 low carbon start-ups on Innovation Birmingham’s accelerator programme

£100,000 of initial investment cash is being shared across nine start-ups on Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Accelerator programme, which is part of the European-fundedClimate-KIC initiative.

A total of 16 low carbon start-ups pitched for the investment funding, in front of a panel of three industry judges. The process was facilitated by Innovation Birmingham’s Climate-KIC team and two of the Entrepreneurs in Residence.

The grant funding – circa £11,000 for each of the nine start-ups – will be used to pay for research and development, and other activity to enable the low carbon products and services to be launched to market in an accelerated timescale.

The three judges awarding the finance were: Paul Adams, an entrepreneur and environmental specialist, appointed by the University of Birmingham as a BSEEN Programme Adviser; Ian French, investment director at Finance Birmingham; and Glenn Barrowman, a Project Manager at Built Environment Climate Change Innovations.

Katharine Fuller, Innovation Birmingham’s Senior Project Manager for EU Projects said: “Early stage grant funding makes such a difference to start-up businesses. The timetable required for an entrepreneur to launch their product or service to market is critical, and the funding available through the European Climate-KIC initiative enables the best businesses starting up in the low carbon sector to receive a helpful grant.

“In addition to this grant funding, all of the businesses will continue to work alongside the three Entrepreneurs in Residence who have been specifically appointed as advisers to the Low Carbon Accelerator programme. The ultimate aim is to help to launch as many sustainable start-ups as possible.”

The nine low carbon start-ups being awarded grant funding are: Full Grown, which is working to change wasteful mass production processes; 5L, a water and energy efficiency business; Unicorn Power Ltd, specialising in clean energy and environmental mitigation; Libralato, a hybrid powertrain specialist; Alkali Solutions, which specialises in industrial symbiosis; WRK Design & Services Ltd, an alternative energy provider; Petalite Battery, which reduces carbon in manufacturing and the product lifecycle; Greengineering Ltd, which specialises in resource and built environment efficiency; and Civico Online Exchange Tracker, a waste prevention solution.

Read full press release on Innovation Birmingham Campus news page here>

wambiz - logo

Education Tech Start-Up Wambiz Secures £600,000 Investment

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based WAMBIZ, a start-up tackling the issue of student retention in further education, has secured over £600,000 of angel investment following its latest round of funding.

The business creates VENs (virtual engagement networks), which connect students with educators to deliver crucial course and student information via a channel they will regularly use.

Co-founded by Harry Jawanda and Andrew West – who met when playing hockey for England, the private social networks created by WAMBiz provide a safe means for students to connect, communicate and collaborate with peers, teachers and institutions in an engaging, yet controlled way.

The investment was made by Allan Murdoch, the former Executive Chairman of HIPCOM, a leading telecoms provider, who has created a consortium of investors to back new tech start-ups.

The group has already invested in such companies as Forge Special Projects which delivers technology to festivals and events, Stylect a shoe app and Shareight which creates a virtual high street on your mobile.

Harry Jawanda CEO and co-founder of WAMBIZ said:

“Institutions are losing millions in funding each year through students dropping out within the first three months of the school year. Much of this is down to a lack of initial engagement between the student and teachers and institutions. WAMedu offers a solution and bridges that gap. We help build engagement between these audiences through our understanding of how social networks have changed the way we all communicate. “

Read full article on the Innovation Birmingham Campus news page, here>

Developing intelligent and sustainable mobility

Vision of New Street Station and planned Metro
Vision of New Street Station and planned Metro (bigcityplan.birmingham.gov.uk)

Digital Birmingham attended the New Journey workshop at the end of June to help shape a shared vision for the New Journey – a new way of thinking about connecting places and people. This takes a smart approach on a journey towards individual, integrated and seamless mobility solutions, making public transport the natural choice for people’s journeys across the West Midlands. Ultimately the aim is to make the West Midlands a leader in developing and delivering intelligent sustainable mobility providing combined improved access to public and private transport movement across networks with wider ‘big data’ product solutions. Some great thinking and ideas flowed during the day and these were captured and presented by Centro in this brilliant New Journey Conference Mindmap – which has perfectly captured the discussion strands and themes of the day – certainly worth dipping in and out of to absorb all of the information presented here and great contributor to progressing the Smart City Roadmap actions

 

 

Birmingham, the smarter, greener city

British Science Festival, Birmingham 2014
British Science Festival, Birmingham 2014


BIRMINGHAM: THE SMARTER, GREENER SCIENCE CITY
Wednesday 10 September 2014, 2.30pm-8pm
Millennium Point, Birmingham

As part of British Science Festival 2014, this event will showcase research and innovation in the theme of smarter and greener cities.

The need for cities to work smarter and in more environmentally efficient ways is essential to ensure the wellbeing of citizens, and to help businesses reduce their impact on global warming.

Jointly hosted by Birmingham City University, Aston University, Millennium Point and the Smart City Alliance, Birmingham: The Smarter, Greener Science City will include an exhibition, site tours and a series of lectures throughout the day.

Our keynote speaker is Dr Rick Robinson, Executive Architect of Smarter Cities, IBM.

Registration is free, with an option to attend a drinks reception at the end of the day. Please note that limited places are available for the drinks reception. Tickets for the event available here

 

 

Boost for Health Care Innovation in the Midlands

Creative England has announced a new £1million fund for regional based SMEs, designed to stimulate creative and digital innovation in UK healthcare. The first of four programmes to open as part of this fund is the West Midlands Interactive Healthcare Fund, in partnership with Nominet Trust and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The fund aims to encourage small creative and digital businesses in the North, Midlands and South West regions to develop innovative concepts or prototypes using digital technology to improve patient care and health services…

…The West Midlands Interactive Healthcare Fund offers local businesses a unique opportunity to work directly with the Health Trust to develop their concepts. “This partnership provides an extremely exciting opportunity for all involved,” explains Bethan Bishop, Head of Innovation & Industry Engagement at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. “It enables us to give insight into the areas of healthcare which will benefit from existing & new technology sitting within creative businesses. Importantly the fund will deliver the vital investment required to enable these developments to be used and make a real difference across healthcare services and the health & wellbeing of patients and the community.”

More about how to apply here

Mobilising for Action

Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons www.photoeverywhere.co.uk/)
Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons http://www.photoeverywhere.co.uk/)

The Birmingham Smart City Commission has established a number of thematic working groups, based on discussions with its members, with the aim of establishing a programme of strategic priorities and activity that will support delivery of Birmingham’s Smart City Roadmap. All activity aims to embed the principles of and address the strategic aims set out in the Roadmap:

  • Use of digital technologies and information to increase capacity of existing infrastructure and services
  • A joined up, integrated approach to service delivery across all sectors
  • Release and access to data
  • Citizen involvement, cooperation and citizen focused service delivery

Each working group is chaired by a lead representative from the Smart City Commission who is responsible for progressing the Smart City principles alongside the needs of the sector / area and its membership focused on practical actions that deliver real outcomes.

Working Groups and leads are as follows:

Benchmarking and Progress – Mark Barber, KPMG
Civic Economy – Jas Bains, Ashram Moseley Housing
Education, Skills & Innovation – David Hardman, Innovation Birmingham Ltd
Energy – TBC
Health – Tim Jones, UHB
Mobility – Nick Gregg, Amey
Open and Big Data – Bjorn Birgisson, Aston University

We are holding a meeting at the end of September to bring together the leads above with the Chair of the Commission (Cllr. Lisa Trickett – Cabinet Member – Green, Smart and Sustainable City) to agree the framework and collective vision that will ensure an integrated  approach across the themed areas.

You can read more about the results from the stakeholder analysis, undertaken with the Commission members and supported by Mark Barber from KPMG that helped to inform the development of the working groups and the timeplan for next steps here

Love_Lane_Elevation

Planning application lodged for iCentrumTM; central Birmingham’s first speculative office building in four years

A planning application has been submitted for the much anticipated expansion of the Innovation Birmingham Campus. Funding is in place for the 38,000sq ft (3,350sqm) iCentrumTM building, enabling construction work to commence as soon as planning approval is granted.

The new businesses in iCentrumTM will create 400 high-value skilled tech jobs, generating £25 million of GVA to the local economy per annum.

The Innovation Birmingham Campus is wholly owned by Birmingham City Council. A commercial loan for the £7.5m construction and fit-out costs has been secured from the Council. As a result of an OJEU tender process, iCentrum will be delivered by Stourport-on-Severn headquartered Thomas Vale Construction Ltd, which is part of one of the world’s leading construction groups, Bouygues Construction.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City Council said: “I am delighted with the progress that Innovation Birmingham has made in developing its concept for iCentrumTM,. This scheme will be central Birmingham’s first speculative development since the completion of The Cube in 2010 and it signifies new market confidence and adds demonstrable substance to the recent focus on Birmingham as a ‘tech city’.”

To read more about Innovation Birmingham and the full press release click here

Innovation Birmingham celebrates 100 tech start-ups

Innovation Birmingham celebrates 100 tech start-ups in less than five years

Innovation Birmingham held a milestone event for 150 people Wednesday 1st July to celebrate the 100th tech start-up to enrol onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Innovation Birmingham, the flagship project, which was launched in November 2009, has seen its tech start-ups secure over £4 million in initial funding rounds. 170 skilled jobs have been created as a result.

The focus of the event was presentations from the Entrepreneurs for the Future alumni and current cohort of start-ups going through the six month incubation process. The programme, which is about providing a supportive environment for tech start-ups to grow and develop their businesses, includes dedicated one-to-one mentoring with an assigned Entrepreneur in Residence. Other aspects of the offer include a variety of events and workshops delivered by leading Birmingham professionals to aid commerciality, access to finance, free co-working space, meeting rooms, telephone and wifi. The total package has a monetary value of £10,000, but is free for qualifying innovative tech start-ups.

Nick Holzherr, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Whisk.com said: “I was the first to enrol onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, with a tech business that continues to run today. Had it not been for the support I received, I think I may have left Birmingham and opted for a career in banking.
“Having been running Whisk.com from a building next to the Entrepreneurs for the Future centre for over two years, I’m grateful for everything I learnt while on the programme. Birmingham has been brilliant for us – we’ve been able to afford and attract a technically highly skilled team to build a product that we’re offering to markets around the world.”

To read the full press release visit the Innovation Birmingham Campus news page

Alex Chudnovsky and Dixon Jones of Majestic SEO lr

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Majestic SEO launches new product to categorise the web

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Majestic SEO has launched a groundbreaking specialist search engine to categorise the entire World Wide Web. Called ‘Topical Trust Flow’, the innovation has been seven years in the making and is the first of its kind to eradicate the need for manually categorised website directories.

Topical Trust Flow categorises over seven hundred billion web pages – including all Twitter accounts – into 800 topics to enable easy analysis and comparison. Trust Flow scores are also provided, where higher rankings are achieved by having links directly relevant to a web page.

The new search engine is multi-lingual and enables analysis of the Web to be fully automated. For organisations that want to boost their own web presence, it provides clear results as to which sites are more influential to link to, without actually viewing any web pages.  Finding appropriate content can be carried out with laser-like precision.

Read full press release here>>
T
o find out more about being based or having an office at Innovation Birmingham Campus see here>>

Innovation Birmingham event Transport Systems Catapult

Can Birmingham become a global leader of new transport technologies?

The event, organised by Innovation Birmingham and Transport Systems Catapult brought together speakers from a start-up, major IT company and the public sector, to try and establish whether Birmingham had the potential to become a global leader in new transport technologies.

Over the course of the afternoon, there were several strands of thought on the link between the institutions and characteristics of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region and its suitability as a ‘living lab’ for new transport technologies.

Birmingham sits at the heart of England, giving it a geographical advantage as a transport hub – and by extension, a logical location to develop a smart, low carbon transport system. Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Andy Street highlighted how this could feed into the city region’s ambitions for the HS2 project: not to be “the end of the line”, but the centre. This was not solely about location, but also a challenge to make Birmingham the home of the associated engineering and technological support, research and development that accompanies such a key infrastructure project.

An associated point to location is size: Birmingham is a large city, the largest local authority in Europe: solutions that work here will be applicable to other large conurbations. And as Paul Zanelli, Chief Technology Officer for the Transport Systems Catapult noted, these solutions are as much about identifying what you no longer need to travel for – for example, if high speed internet is regionally available, homeworking (or working in other spaces closer to home) becomes more viable.

Read full blog post here>> 

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