Sanelisiwe Mafa, a recent Birmingham City University Master’s graduate and owner of her own interior design agency.
Matthew Neville

Birmingham City University launches business bootcamp in new £70m “state-of-the-art” facility

Birmingham City University has launched STEAM Hatchery, an intensive training programme, to give 60 participants the opportunity to “turn their business dream into a reality” with the help of expert mentorship and part of a £10k prize fund.

The new ten-week programme, based at the University’s new £70m STEAMhouse innovation centre, will offer third year, Master’s and PhD students as well as recent graduates the chance to develop and establish their own company by offering key support, facilities and resources.

The Hatchery will see participants develop their business plan with expert input, and be in with the chance of earning a place in STEAMhouse’s Business Incubator, a hub that provides support and facilities to fledgling startups and entrepreneurs.

Entrants will need to submit a business plan and present their idea to a panel of judges, made up of local business representatives.

At the launch event, 60 participants had the opportunity to network and begin cultivating their ideas and learn from STEAM Hatchery mentors, a group of experts from marketing, finance, intellectual property and other key business areas.

The launch took place at the University’s new STEAMhouse building, a “state-of-the-art” five-storey innovation centre which will also house the Hatchery participants during the course of their programme.

This gave the 60 participants, emerging business professionals from the world of jewellery, fashion, interior design, logistics and technology, the chance to come together to hear from experts, learn about key aspects of businesses and harbour new collaborations.

Sanelisiwe Mafa, a recent Birmingham City University Master’s graduate and owner of her own interior design agency, said: “We’ve just set up our business and could use some expert knowledge, but we lack the funds to pay for those services, so getting them as part of this programme will be incredibly helpful.

“When you finish university, sometimes you wonder where you go from there. This programme gives you extra guidance, the kind you don’t get when you’re studying a specific subject, as well as the skills and confidence to navigate all the different things in setting up a business.

“It’s also a great chance to collaborate with new people from different areas to enhance our business.”

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