Innovation Birmingham has been awarded £230,000 by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to deliver a coaching and mentorship programme designed to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial tech companies.
The new initiative – called e4f Inspire – will work with the CEOs of tech companies based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus that have been established for over a year. In addition, a series of keynote events designed to inspire company growth, will be open to over 100 leaders of businesses located in Greater Birmingham.
Other activities to be run throughout the 15 month programme will include a series of workshops, entrepreneur dinners, off-site visits, funded internship/apprenticeship placements, and peer group sessions. The e4f Inspire launch event will take place at the Innovation Birmingham Campus on 12thNovember 2014, with a keynote speech from Jeff Grout; former business manager to Sir Clive Woodward.
To coincide with the launch of this new initiative, Innovation Birmingham is extending the duration tech start-ups can stay on its highly successful Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubation programme, which is also part-funded through ERDF. The free package of mentoring from an Entrepreneur in Residence, access to finance, visiting expert sessions, wifi, telecoms, meetings rooms and office space, will now be provided for up to nine months to circa 25 tech start-ups per year.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “The e4f Inspire programme will provide tech companies in the early years of growth with the type of specialist coaching that CEOs of the biggest organisations can normally only benefit from.
“CEOs of small tech companies can easily fall into the trap of being far too engrossed in day to day client work, or tech development activities, and putting a management team in place is easier said than done with the knife-edge finances of a growing business. However, putting aside time each month to challenge the status quo and work on achieving the next stage of growth – alongside peers from the same sector – is a model that has proven results. E4f Inspire will ensure tech businesses located here have access to the type of support that has helped the UK’s fastest growing companies.”
The E4f Inspire workshops, peer group sessions and dinners with CEOs of large tech businesses will be private events, each involving up to 20 tech CEOs, drawn from businesses located on the Innovation Birmingham Campus. In contrast, the keynote events with high profile speakers will be widely publicised to attract over 100 leaders from across the GBSLEP area.
The E4f Inspire programme has been devised by John Cooke; one of Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs in Residence. John spent the first 18 years of his career working in a business development capacity for Microsoft and IBM. On leaving Microsoft, he became an entrepreneur and has established two successful businesses.