Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA), as Aston Science Park, was founded in 1982 and as such is the UK’s third oldest science park. Located within a stone’s throw of central Birmingham, it offers 250,000 sq ft of accommodation over 14 acres.
In order to reflect the future strategy for the science park, provide clarity and pave the way for a £30 million development activity, BSPA is now presented as two campuses; the Innovation Birmingham Campus and the Science & Technology Campus.
The Science & Technology Campus encompasses a range of multi-occupied and headquarter-style single occupancy buildings, directly owned by Birmingham City Council and serviced by the Innovation Birmingham service company.
The Innovation Birmingham Campus, is owned by Innovation Birmingham, which in turn is wholly owned by Birmingham City Council. Innovation Birmingham is working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to drive innovation-led regeneration across Greater Birmingham, to help shape the Smart City agenda..
Faraday Wharf – the first building on the Innovation Birmingham Campus – opened in 2001 and incorporates 70 office suites specifically designed for growing technology businesses. Faraday Wharf has now been joined by the campus’ £8 million iCentrum® building which offers flexible, innovative space to accommodate more digitally-orientated entrepreneurs and SMEs from across all key business sectors in the regional economy.
Innovation Birmingham Campus
The Innovation Birmingham Campus is the leading location for Birmingham’s tech and start-up community; providing office suites, meeting and conference facilities and hot-desking opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs and investors looking to develop or fund innovative digital start-ups with high growth potential.
Its dynamic and ambitious team work hard to provide the ideal setting for founders of new ventures and more established tech businesses, by actively nurturing an interactive and engaging community.
With a range of campus facilities including the Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubator and co-working centre, hot-desking amenities and flexible office units ranging from 115 sq ft – 10,000 sq ft; tenants have all the facilities they need to put them on the path to success. However, the defining component is the open digital community that is nurtured and curated; creating a sense of place – an open community driven by interest not just location.
Entrepreneurs for the Future Centre (e4f)
The EDRF supported incubator is specifically focused on creating new innovative technology ventures. It provides a flexible, highly connected and collaborative environment to fast-track the development and growth of tech start-ups based on tech-based business concepts that innovators and entrepreneurs present to the incubator.
The objective of the e4f programme is to diversify the region’s economy through the incubation of innovative tech start-ups, creating new high value jobs and so retaining more of the city’s talented graduate population. Start-ups in the e4f incubator benefit from an initial nine months free access to a dynamic co-working centre, with full ICT support and meeting facilities.
In addition to free use of the facilities, e4f provides mentoring and support services – specific to tech start-ups – based on regional, national and international networks. Our ‘Entrepreneurs in Residence’ provide personalised support to each start-up and direct access to the most appropriate expertise and experience to drive the development of fledging businesses. ‘Visiting expert’ sessions also help to ensure that the entrepreneurs have all they need to launch, develop and grow.
Since it was established in 2009, e4f has supported the creation of over 120 new technology companies.
National Virtual Incubator
Innovation Birmingham is a founding node in this pioneering network led by Cisco; which connects incubation centres and research institutions around the UK via state-of-the-art Cisco video conferencing technology. Mentoring sessions and multi-location live events are being delivered across the NVI network, enabling initial introductions and follow-up meetings to take place, irrespective of geography.
Marking the first phase of Innovation Birmingham’s £30 million campus expansion plan, iCentrum® recently opened. The building encompasses 42,149 sq ft (3,881 sq m) of open work space; promoting mobile working, a new Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator offering, self-contained offices, event facilities and a new café – 6 degrees.
Set over three floors and a mezzanine level, the £8 million iCentrum® building has been developed to create the optimum environment for innovative collaboration between innovative start-ups and corporate partners. Businesses benefit from free high-tech office space, mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs, a 180-seat presentation auditorium with 7m+ wide HD presentation screen, access to over 100 evening networking events and workshops.
Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator
Sitting in the heart of iCentrum, the Serendip® Smart Cities Incubator is a new offering aimed at accelerating the growth of digital start-ups by working directly with large corporate partners on challenges defined by market need. A core element of Birmingham’s ‘Knowledge Hub’, the incubator co-locates promising start-up businesses with large, existing commercial partners; enabling start-ups to market-test and refine products and services with real commercial partners and take their businesses to investors in the full knowledge of commercial opportunity and route to market. The partners may also, in turn, become customers or distribution channels as the start-up develops.
Serendip® will accommodate start-ups and commercial partners working within the following markets:
- Digital Health – in partnership with West Midlands Academic Health Science Network
- Intelligent Mobility – in partnership with Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult
- Internet of Things – in partnership with RWE npower
- Barclays Eagle Labs – in partnership with Barclays
iCentrum’s ground floor will operate as an open marketplace to promote innovation and needs-led development of technologies in support of the regional economy. It will act as a focal point; a meeting place for Birmingham’s innovative students, academics and individuals from the public sector, SMEs and corporates. By bringing together a diverse cross sector of the citizens of Birmingham from the science, tech, digital, making and the arts, iCentrum® will remix ideas and concepts to promote delivery of new commercial products and services.
The Universities Centre will open September 2016 and will create an additional 5,812 sq ft of enterprise space, acting as a detached extension of the site’s Faraday Wharf building. Over half of the space in the new facility will be dedicated to flexible co-working, with the remainder purpose-designed for training sessions and events. It will also feature state-of-the-art communications equipment, linked to all five universities in Birmingham which will all benefit from high definition video conferencing suites as part of the project.
The main function of the Universities Centre, which received a Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) award of £2.49m Local Growth Fund grant, is to reduce the perceived/actual barriers to effective collaboration between early-stage, micro-enterprises, small businesses and universities.
Located next to iCentrum®, Maker Wharf will be the next development on the Campus. It will incorporate a Fab Lab prototyping facility on the ground floor with office and workshop space for tech companies on the upper floors. In a sense, combining the Campus’ existing digital capability with Fab Lab facilities has the potential to reinvent Birmingham’s manufacturing heritage.
30Gbit/s broadband connectivity
In a move to enhance Birmingham’s Smart City credentials, Innovation Birmingham has invested in infrastructure to increase its broadband connectivity to 30Gbit/s. As a result, tenants benefit from download and upload speeds that equal the best on offer anywhere in the UK.
- See more at: http://www.ukspa.org.uk/members/kubp#sthash.RKqtBq3W.dpuf