Birmingham unveils smart city project

Innovation Birmingham has opened applications for its smart cities incubator.

The Serendip Smart Cities incubator will allow early stage tech start-up firms to develop and test their ideas alongside commercial partners. 

The project will be based in a new £8 million iCentrum building which opens later this month; the building is the first phase of Innovation Birmingham’s new £40 million campus.

Innovation Birmingham is part of the Birmingham Science Park Aston, which itself is wholly owned by Birmingham City Council.

The programme will have four sector-specific areas; digital health, intelligent mobility, internet of things and an additional incubator. The smart city programme will be led by Innovation Birmingham in conjunction with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, Centro (the public body responsible for public transport services in the West Midlands) and the Innovate UK-backed Transport Systems Catapult. Commercial partners include energy company npower and Barclays.

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The idea behind the incubator is to boost the translation of ideas, relevant to Birmingham’s smart city plans, into products and services.

Successful applicants for the Serendip Smart Cities Incubator will be based at iCentrum from the beginning of April. Start-ups will be able to work with partners to market test and refine products and services.

Chief executive of Innovation Birmingham David Hardman said the programme would provide “a fantastic opportunity for UK start-ups to work directly with established commercial partners and benefit from their longevity and expertise”.

“Working with these partners is very exciting for the region and will help us to further drive the city’s reputation as a national centre for digital excellence, as well as helping to create many new high-value jobs in high-growth businesses which will have fantastic economic benefits for Birmingham.”

Colin Marrs

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