General: About BSEEN

Who is behind the BSEEN programme?

BSEEN is a collaboration between Aston University, Birmingham City University, Newman University and University College Birmingham. There is a team at each university who runs the project and supports the student and graduate entrepreneurs who take part –find out more about us here.

How many businesses do you accept onto the programme?

We don’t have a set amount, but we accept roughly 35 businesses each cohort. There are three cohorts per year.

Who can apply for BSEEN?

We support current students at one of our partner universities who want to set up a business, as well as graduates (up to 5 years after you finish your studies). We can also support graduates from any university in the UK, as long as you are setting up your business in Birmingham.

What businesses have you supported in the past?

Take a look at a selection of our alumni on the Case Studies page.

Before: Applying for BSEEN

Do I need to submit a business plan as part of my application?

It’s not compulsory, but you’re welcome to send us any supporting documents that help us to understand your business! You could also send us a Business Model Canvas –a shorter, visual type of business plan. Check out our Resources page for templates and tips. The exception to this is if you are an international student.

Can I talk to someone before applying?

Yes –please contact us via email to arrange a time to talk to someone, letting

I’ve already started trading or have registered my business –can I still apply?

Unfortunately, we are only able to accept business who have not already started trading.If you have registered your business but not started trading, you may be eligible –please contact us to check. We support you to register your business at the start of the programme, so ideally you would not have already taken this step.

I’m an International Student/Graduate –can I apply for BSEEN?

As an international applicant, you will need to gain an endorsement for the StartupVisa before joining the BSEEN programme. Please contact your respective university for more information on this process.

Can I apply with a partner/a team?

Definitely. You can choose one team member as the lead applicant, and there is space on the application form to tell us about the rest of your team.

Do I need to register/run my business in Birmingham?

It is a requirement of BSEEN that you register your business in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull area. We are able to provide professional business addresses during the registration process. This means that your business is legally registered in Birmingham, but of course you may be looking to trade beyond this and even internationally.

Can any type of business apply?

We work with a widevariety of business types, but there are some restrictions. We cannot accept Retail or Property businesses. If you’re not sure if your business falls under that category, please contact us.

I have a few business ideas –what do I do?

You need to apply to BSEEN with just one idea, and we recommend you spend your efforts exploring one idea rather than several. If you aren’t sure which to pursue, you could try completing a Business Model Canvas or SWOT analysis for each idea to see wherethe strengths/weaknesses lie.

How do I know I’m ready to apply for BSEEN? What are you looking for?

You should be ready to commit to your business idea, ready to register the business legally (and be ready for the obligations this involves), and be motivated to make the idea a reality. We are looking for driven entrepreneurial people with viable business ideas who we can help.

What happens if my application is not successful?

We will provide some general feedback, and you are welcome to act on that feedback and apply again at the next opportunity. You can apply a maximum of twice with the same business idea.

During: The Programme

What support do you provide to programme participants?

We support participants for a 12 months periodto launch and grow a business in Birmingham. Explore our ‘How do we help’ page for the benefits of joining us.

What happens at a BSEEN bootcamp?

We provide a series of interactive training workshops to give you a solid foundation of knowledge as you start your business. We work with a group of experienced trainers who will put you through your paces with topics such as business planning, finances and marketing. You’ll also get the chance to interact with the other businesses in your cohort, the BSEEN team and BSEEN alumni. Take a look at the Bootcamps page to find out more.

What is the time commitment/requirements of me as a participant?

Once accepted onto the programme, you will be asked to sign a Participant Agreement. You are required to attend all the bootcamp sessions and register your business legally in Birmingham. It is possible to both study or work part/fulltime while you are participating –you must just be able to commit to the bootcamp, engagement with the Enterprise Consultant at your university, and a monthly mentor meeting if you have one. We are flexible and can accommodate your other commitments, but we ask that you engage with us and communicate with the team about your business.

How does the mentoring part of the programme work?

The team at your university will match you with one of our mentors, and you will have a minimum of a monthly engagement with them.

Do you monitor my progress? Am I expected to hit certain goals by the end of the year?

As part of our support, you will be offered 1:1 guidance from the Enterprise Consultant at your university.

Can you help me promote my business?

We will do all we can to help you promote your business –for example, using our social media channels to reshare your content. We may also be able to connect you to the marketing teams at each university to share any news stories you have.

What funding do you provide?

Each BSEEN business is entitled to a business grant of £500 to cover some of their start-ups costs. Once you have registered your business and completed the bootcamp, you’ll be eligible to claim £500 of your business costs back from us.

Can you help me with things like legal issues, accounting?

Yes. We work with a number of professional services firms such as these who provide a certain amount of advice to our entrepreneurs, before you may need to pay fees.

After: What Happens after 12 Months

Can I still have access to the benefits of the programme after my 12 month period has ended?

Once your 12 months has ended, you’ll be an alumni of the programme and we’ll try and support you however we can. However, you will not automatically still have access to benefits such as a mentor, co-working space etc –this will be discussed on a case by case basis. We love to stay in touch with our alumni and would still encourage you to attend our networking events and other community initiatives.

What other support can I get for my business?

Thereis a lot of support out there for new and growing businesses in Birmingham. We will send you our handy guide to what you can access, or you can check out our Resources page.

What if I’ve stopped working on my business?

Sometimes, you may find that your idea hasn’t worked out as planned or your circumstances have changed and you no longer wish to pursue this business. In this case, we can support you to close the business down. There are no other consequences relating to the programme –for example, you won’t be asked to pay back your grant.

What is BSEEN?

BSEEN supports aspiring student and graduate entrepreneurs in Birmingham to stop dreaming and just start. Our 12 month programme supports you from idea to launch and beyond, through a comprehensive package of support; training bootcamp to cover all the start-up essentials, business grant, mentoring, networking opportunities and co-working space.

Full Programme Details

Students & Graduates

We offer a 12 month support package for aspiring entrepreneurs to help you stop dreaming and just start.

Find out more

Mentors

Join our mentor community and give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Find out more

Case Studies

Find out more about some of businesses we’ve helped to get going.

Explore Case Studies

Get in Touch

We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions you have about our programme.

Contact us today
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