The facility, named Open Future_Midlands at the Serendip Smart City Incubator, will open up opportunities for tech and digital start-ups. In total, two cohorts of five start-ups will receive six months of pre-acceleration each, with the best businesses asked to join the full acceleration Wayra UK programme and collect up to £34,000 in investment.
The hub forms part of a wider strategy - led by Telefónica Open Future_ - to identify, develop and promote the breadth of talent and technological entrepreneurship that exists throughout the UK.
Located at the £8m iCentrum building, the Serendip Smart City Incubator co-locates promising start-ups with commercial partners in one of four ‘quarters’: digital health, intelligent mobility, internet of things (IoT) and eagle labs. As part of the Incubator, start-ups benefit from free co-working space for six months, access to mentoring and Wayra UK’s network and knowhow, as well as training in entrepreneurship and business skills. Start-ups will also be able to leverage a state-of-the-art event and meet-up space on the ground floor for up to 500 people.
Gary Stewart, director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), said: "I’m extremely pleased to announce Wayra UK as a new resident to the ‘TechBrum’ cluster and the further strengthening of the UK’s start-up ecosystem.
"The launch of Open Future_ Midlands will follow that of Open Future_ North in Greater Manchester and forms part of a wider strategy - led by Telefónica Open Future_ - to work alongside local and regional partners to reinvigorate entrepreneurial ecosystems, energise local economies and democratise entrepreneurship. Wayra UK aims to achieve this by identifying, developing and promoting the breadth of talent and technological entrepreneurship that exists throughout the whole of the United Kingdom."
Cliff Dennett, head of business development for Innovation Birmingham, said: "We are really delighted that Telefónica Open Future_have chosen the Serendip Incubator at Innovation Birmingham as Midlands partner for Wayra UK’s start-up support activities. Wayra’s recognition of both the City Of Birmingham‘s and Innovation Birmingham’s potential to create world-class start-ups and associated support is a real testament to the energy and opportunity in our region. Birmingham has made enormous progress over recent years in encouraging entrepreneurship and Innovation Birmingham’s partnership with such a recognised, internal accelerator as Wayra provides another leap forward for the city."
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