The Enterprise Acceleration team administers and has access and knowledge of a variety of commercialisation funds available to academics. These include the Enterprising Birmingham Fund, UnLtd/Hefce Social Enterprise Fund and details of other funding opportunities/competitions.
The Enterprising Birmingham fund (EBF) was set up 18 months ago and provides an important source of funding for commercialisation projects that, it is hoped, will deliver significant economic impact. The fund has been designed to bridge the gap between translational / follow on type funding and investment and funds a broad range of activities to demonstrate the commercial viability of an idea. These activities might include developing a prototype, carrying out market analysis, bringing external expertise into the project, writing a business plan etc. Since the inception of the fund, 13 projects have been approved and almost £300k has been allocated. The funding has also been used to ‘lever in’ over £150k additional funding into these projects.
The application process is supported by the Enterprise Acceleration Team, Alta Innovations Ltd and the College Research Support Offices and applications can be submitted at any time.
Many people involved in academic research are motivated by the potential for delivering benefits to society through their research; this also links to the impact agenda. Setting up a social enterprise allows you to maximise the delivery of this benefit as well as giving the opportunity to develop a sustainable model.
We are very pleased that, for the second year running, the University of Birmingham has been chosen as a partner on the UnLtd/Hefce HE Support Programme. As a result of this new partnership we have funding for some small awards to support new social enterprise initiatives based on university research. The funding available is provided primarily as pump priming to carry out some initial work on an idea. It is envisaged that most awards will range from £500 to around £2000 with an upper limit of £5000. The funding should be used to carry out work to help to validate an idea and produce collateral to help get the enterprise ‘off the ground’. This could include funding work to gather market intelligence (meetings, travel etc.), proof of concept work, website design / improvement, production of marketing materials etc.
All those who are awarded funding will be offered 3 hours mentoring from an expert in social enterprise to discuss ways of taking the idea forward.
Last year, Dr Ruth Howard from the School of Psychology, received an award that funded the production of a DVD resource for young people with Coeliac Disease based on her expert knowledge and research. This DVD, entitled “Gut Feelings”, is available to buy through Amazon and has made a real difference in educating young people on how to manage their condition.
If you have a project which you think might be eligible, please contact Catherine Mansell, firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and support.
If you have a project which you think might be eligible for EBF or Social Enterprise funds, please contact: Catherine Mansell, email@example.com or call 0121 414 4905.
Please click on the download below for funding calls and reminders