As a result of a collaboration between Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects, £3.5m and two years of hard work, STEAMhouse was finally able to officially open its doors on the bright and sunny afternoon of 24th May.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England, the project aims to create a regional hub for the STEAM movement; the integration of arts within the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines.
There was a vibrant atmosphere as local businesses, entrepreneurs and academics gathered to celebrate the opening of this new facility. The event was a great success; encompassing speeches, networking and tours of the dynamic makerspace.
But what does the launch of STEAMhouse mean for you?
As an exciting new or small business, chances are you’ll have lots of innovative ideas and projects bubbling away behind the scenes. However, in the early stages of your business journey, you might not always have access to the funds, resources and support you need to bring these plans to fruition. As the first and only space of its kind in the region, STEAMhouse enables you as local entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-up businesses, to bring your ideas to life.
What is STEAMhouse?
Offering much more than just a makerspace, STEAMhouse aims to encourage businesses like yours to drive innovation through collaboration. Bringing together skills from science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) backgrounds, the venue is home to the tools, resources and support you might need to get your business idea off the ground. STEAMhouse encapsulates eight different collaborative makerspaces with specialist technology and dedicated technicians on-hand to offer advice and support.
“STEAMhouse is similar to the early stages of prototyping, where maybe one or two more insights are needed to make an idea stronger and more robust,” explained director of the Institute for Creative Innovation at STEAMhouse, Steve Harding. “For any business looking to innovate and take an idea to the next level, they need to be thinking collaboratively beyond their own discipline to gain that valuable insight. Whether your business offers a service or a tangible product, both fit very well into the STEAMhouse agenda.”
One such company keen to get involved and offer their expertise was Holosphere VR, a local virtual reality agency and production studio. Technical director, Sean Duffy, explains, “STEAMhouse offers a multifaceted approach so you’ve got all the tools under one roof. We were really excited when we heard about STEAMhouse and straight away we wanted to be involved. We have instant access to skills and knowledge in the area should there be a problem we’re looking to solve and that’s really valuable.”
Birmingham City University’s Gamer Camp Studios attended the launch and plan to be a source of technical support for local entrepreneurs looking to introduce gameplay into their businesses. Course director, Zuby Ahmend, believes STEAMhouse will be mutually beneficial for gaming course leaders and local businesses: “Rather than sticking to a rigid structure, we’re going to evolve in a fluid and dynamic way and essentially make sure we’re best fit for them. STEAMhouse harnesses collaboration, and just like gameplay, as more people participate it becomes a great learning experience.”
What will STEAMhouse do for the region?
The Birmingham and West Midlands region has been renowned for its innovation since the industrial revolution, but until now STEAM entrepreneurs in the area have not had access to the makerspace, facilities and support needed to take great ideas from paper to practice.
As well as encouraging collaboration and bolstering the untapped potential between STEAM enterprises and academics, the new venue is also set to boost the local economy and put the region back on the map.
Steve Harding, adds, “The launch has been very successful, but the proof is in the pudding. We want people through the doors and we want more artists and collaborators signed up. We’re confident that will happen and that we’ll build a community here.”
How can I get involved?
STEAMhouse exists for businesses just like yours and we encourage you to pay us a visit and see how it could help get your business idea off the ground. To get started and explore what STEAMhouse can do for your business, get in touch for more information.