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30 March 2017

The programme is funded by Arts Council England and the project is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

STEAMlab#1 is a free, two-day workshop is designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), micro businesses, and sole traders to think differently, innovate and develop new ideas by collaboratively exploring real life challenges and using strategies which harness the potential of creative thinking, the arts and digital technologies.

This intensive workshop will give you the opportunity to address and negotiate challenges faced by your business in a supportive, experimental learning environment.

This is a unique chance to work collaboratively with people from different sectors, disciplines and backgrounds to explore new strategies which use creative thinking to catalyse the development of innovative ideas, products, services and business solutions.

The projects can be at any stage of development, be it at research stage, concept stage, development, or prototyping phase. There is a thematic focus based on growth areas of Low Carbon, Health and Life Sciences, Advances Manufacturing, and Creative and Digital.

If you work in any of the STEAM subject areas and have an interest and willingness to work in cooperation with individuals within an open collaboration, commons based production format then we want to hear from you!

How you will benefit

  • Understand the principles of open innovation, or design thinking techniques and how you can exploit this for your own business needs
  • Open flexible membership to prototyping and fabrication facilities, and skilled technical staff in the areas of digital, wood, metal, and print to assist in taking ideas forward to creation (from autumn 2017)
  • Access to research collaborations with BCU academics
  • Network and build relationships with people from different disciplines
  • Explore and develop your concepts, products and services
  • Financial assistance by way of a competitive grant to purchase materials for prototyping purposes when the STEAMhouse centre opens in autumn 2017 (limited number)

The aim is to provide learning about the processes involved with cross disciplinary collaborative open innovation techniques, and support up to six projects for a rapid concept and/or product development research and development workshop running from Thursday 30 to Friday 31 March 2017.

How to take part

Please email us for an application form /

Completed application forms need to be submitted no later than Sunday 12th March to or

This should outline a product, concept or business challenge which you would like to test, develop and explore in a collaborative environment with an interdisciplinary group of participants who will each bring their own expertise, knowledge, skills and experience to the table. Proposals should be ambitious and original, but realistic and possible to achieve.

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel comprising of workshop leaders, representatives from Birmingham City University and the STEAMhouse teams.

We will respond to all applicants by Monday 20 March.

Eligibility criteria:

To qualify to access the FREE workshops you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Seeking to innovate and willing to share ideas
  • Must be available during the published workshop dates
  • Be considered as a business / enterprise - sole trader, micro business, SME (employing fewer than 250 FTE people). (Note: state aid rules may limit the type of businesses that may be supported).
  • Based within the GBS LEP region - Birmingham, Solihull, North Worcester and South Staffs.
  • Be a business with an annual turnover of less than €50m or a balance sheet total of less than €43m.
  • Operate in at least one of the following sectors: arts and creative industries, health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, low carbon (specific sector requirements are detailed in each programme call)


Anyone interested in attending must email us for an application form; all completed application forms will be considered and respnded to by 20th March. Only applicants who meet the eligibility criteria can be accepted onto the workshop programme. Places are limited therefore not everyone who applies, and is eligible, may be able to be accommodated this time however but other similar workshop activity will run later in the year.


30 March 2017



Birmingham City University




Fazeley Studios

191 Fazeley Street

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