A tour of Birmingham's Entrepreneurial Hotsports

Learning about how start-ups work is one thing, but there’s nothing quite like getting out and about to really get an insight into what’s happening just on our doorstep in one of the UK’s entrepreneurial hotspots, Birmingham.

So, on a cold February afternoon, Aston Enterprise leda group of Aston students on our first ‘Startup Safari’; a tour of a specially selected businesses in the city, where we’d get a glimpse behind the scenes of a growing start-upcommunity.




First up, our neighbours in Innovation Birmingham Campus (this is where Aston’s BSEEN incubator for student/graduate entrepreneurs is based), Energym. Energym’s technology works with existing gym equipment to harness the energy created by the millions of gym users out there –to power the gym itself, or more. One of our students was able to test out the tech on an exercise bike, so we really saw the power and potential of this revolutionary start-up.

Then we made the walk along one of our famous canals to Digbeth, Birmingham’s creative quarter (and home to plenty of interesting businesses). Our first stop in this area was The Melting Pot, a co-working space focused on bringing creatives together. Designed by the man behind the original Odeon Cinemas, Harry Weedon, with a grand Art Deco style entrance,the spaceis a Grade 2 listed building. Our tour included a workshop area for artists, and an office space for designers, photographers and more people at the heart of the city’s creative scene.

Onwards to Zellig(part of the Custard Factory), where we heard from the Community Manager at Beatfreeks, a collective of people and companies using creativity for good.

Started by Aston graduate Anisa Morridadi in 2013, the company has two parts –a youth engagement and insight agency, and an arts organisation focused on enabling young people to share their stories.

Birmingham Enter


A few steps over the road and we found ourselves at The Clean Kilo, one of the UK’s leading zero waste supermarkets. Founders Jeanette and Tom told us about their beginnings and how they’ve grown to having two stores in Birmingham, guided by their overall mission of cutting down on waste.



Our final stop on the tour was School of Code, a non-profit venture with mission of teaching people with no experience how to code via an intensive 16 week bootcamp. We saw the current bootcamp-ers in action, and learned a bit more about howthe students are able to progress from knowing nothing about coding to being ready for their first industry jobs.

A huge thank you to all the companies who got involved in this year’s Startup Safari.