March 2019

UCB entrepreneurs join BSEEN Showcase celebrating 1,000 new start-up businesses

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Budding entrepreneurs from University College Birmingham gathered at a showcase event for a project which helps city students and graduates to set up their own businesses.

UCB is one of four partner universities of BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network), a collaborative initiative which has provided start-up funding and support for more than 1,000 students and graduates in Birmingham since it was first launched in 2010.

The annual BSEEN Showcase, which took place at Millennium Point on 12 March, hosted displays from fifty blossoming businesses as well as a series of guest speakers highlighting the benefits of university entrepreneurship.

Seven of the brands on show were set up by current and former UCB students, including new skincare brand LYF Cosmetics and street-food firm Bread, Cheese & Heaven, as well as Sailing Serenity, a yacht-based pop-up tea business.

Also represented at the event was The Blender – a healthy food venture being developed with the support of UCB's Guild of Students – as well as online marketplace Vizzmo, events management firm Jen's Tailored PA and mobile beauty firm Prime Nails By Ophelia.

The BSEEN project, which recently secured a further three years of funding from the European Regional Development Fund, has helped launch more than 200 businesses in the last three years alone.

Participants in the programme receive a package of start-up support, including an intensive five-day business boot camp, a £500 grant, tailored mentoring and free office space for 12 months, as well as networking opportunities.

According to a report released by the think tank Centre For Entrepreneurs, Birmingham is the UK's top city outside London for start-up businesses, with more than 18,500 founded last year.

UCB lecturer and Enterprise Hive adviser Joe Margetts, who helped to organise the BSEEN Showcase, said: "Events like this increase the confidence of entrepreneurs. They can get a hundred people asking them about their business and they have to do their pitch over and over again.

"It's a lot of publicity for them and there's a lot of promotion. Plus there are loads of people from the Birmingham Enterprise Community, the Chambers of Commerce, Enterprise Nation – it's all about having the right sort of people in the room."

All BSEEN events are free to attend. For more information or if you are interested in receiving support to start up your own business, click here.

Find out more about our range of courses within The Business School at UCB here.

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