Innovative scheme to support young entrepreneurs

An innovative scheme offering recent graduates and students the opportunity to get their own businesses off the ground is soon to be recruiting participants in Birmingham and the local area.

BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network) provides an attractive package of Intensive Business Start-up support for students and graduates launching their own business ventures.

The programme will provide new businesses with dedicated incubator space where budding entrepreneurs can benefit from day to day help and advice from the project team and socialise and share ideas with other new start ups.

Participants will also benefit from a series of workshops which will equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their businesses and will also give them the opportunity to meet existing entrepreneurs. Grant funding is also available, alongside further training, mentoring from industry experts and career guidance.

The scheme is funded by the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and will be delivered in partnership with Aston University, Birmingham City University and University of Birmingham – drawing on the expertise of all 3 institutions.

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee said: ‘ERDF funding is vital to the development of the West Midlands economy. Supporting graduates to develop and start small businesses which in turn will create jobs and ensure we retain valuable skills, are key priorities for the programme. ‘

‘Over the next few years 450 individuals will be able to access specialist support through the £1.3 million BSEEN project helping them to start up a new business venture. This is an excellent example of how ERDF funding can benefit the region as a whole and also the people living and working here.’

Professor Helen Higson, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Aston University said: ‘Entrepreneurship and innovation are key drivers for the region’s economy, and it is important that we encourage young people to consider setting up their own businesses. The activities involved in the BSEEN programme will provide participants with the relevant support and skills to give them the best chance of success with their chosen ventures.’

The scheme previously ran in the West Midlands during 2010/2011 and successfully supported 90 emerging businesses.

BSEEN is available to any graduate or student from the 3 universities or a graduate of any university who now resides within the ‘B’ postcode area.

For more information on BSEEN, email



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