West Midlands tech start-ups are being urged to apply for one of 10 places on a business accelerator programme to take their company to the next level.
Not-for-profit tech hub and think tank, Birmingham Tech, has partnered with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to create ScaleUp Accelerator to help local businesses with high-growth potential, and to boost WMCA’s WM2041 net zero ambitions for the region.
The six-month accelerator, starting in April, will support the 10 selected organisations on their journey from start-up to scale-up offering expert advice and mentoring. The free programme will be delivered by experts who have themselves successfully ‘scaled-up’ tech and digital companies.
Yiannis Maos, CEO of Birmingham Tech, said: “We do an amazing job of creating innovative start-ups across our region and we should be proud that for the seventh year running data from the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CfE) shows the West Midlands is the UK’s start-up capital outside of London.
“However, with investment in tech companies in the City declining, we need to do a better job of supporting those start-ups to ensure they meet their potential – and that’s why we’ve invested in this new initiative.
“Our region has some exciting tech and digital businesses emerging, and we hope that with a bit of help these companies can go on to benefit the regional economy, create more jobs and become internationally recognised brands we are all proud of.”
All 10 of the organisations will receive a coach, mentor and have access to exclusive content including workshops and events. Two of the companies will be chosen to work with the WMCA and appointed experts to focus on tech solutions to tackle the climate emergency.
Last month the WMCA launched its Digital Roadmap, its plan to give the region a digital reboot, with an aim to tackle digital exclusion, reach net zero carbon and support a post-Covid recovery – creating a fairer, greener, healthier region.
The Roadmap outlines five missions to digitise the West Midlands, including becoming the UK’s best digitally connected region, increasing digital skills and therefore upskilling the region’s workforce and attracting more jobs, and increasing access to digital opportunities by tackling digital exclusion. The plan will build on the successes of the region’s 5G testbed and its innovation in transport, and make the most unique regional opportunities like HS2, the Commonwealth Games, and Coventry City of Culture.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Technology will play a key role in our mission to create a zero carbon region by 2041 – including through better managing of our resources to cut down waste, helping people transition to green forms of transport, and moving away from carbon-heavy sources of energy such as gas boilers.
“On top of that, technology and the green economy is set to drive significant economic growth and create thousands of new jobs across the region. That is why it is so critical we support initiatives such as this one by Birmingham Tech, and why we have drawn up a Digital Roadmap for the West Midlands.”
The Scale-up Accelerator, run in collaboration with Purpose Led Performance, will train start-up entrepreneurs across a number of core business areas such as marketing, sales, operations, finance and customer experience. The goal is to give them a wealth of knowledge and insight to help grow their businesses by enabling them to unlock new opportunities and investment.
The first cohort will be selected on the 23rd March with the programme officially starting on the 5th April, running for six months. The successful businesses will then be showcased at Birmingham Tech Week 21, the UK’s biggest regional tech festival.
Organisations interested in the Accelerator can apply at https://birmingham.tech/scaleup-programme/ and applications closing on the 12th March.