Keep Me Informed

Keep up to date with STEAMhouse news and developments

Sign up to the mailing list.

By submitting this form you agree to Birmingham City University contacting you about STEAMhouse and handling your information as outlined in our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.


Small to mid-sized busineses


Product and service development support


Flexible depending on your needs


Short to long term

What is Paper to Prototype?

We provide you with the support, facilities and tools you need to design, prototype, test, and launch your idea. 

We know that bringing something new to market is daunting. That’s why our four-phase process is designed to help you minimise uncertainty and maximise market fit.

Our team works with you to understand your customer, applicable technologies, ownable elements, and development costs before you invest in building anything. 

What our members say

STEAMhouse has helped me in pretty much every area of my start-up. I already had a fair bit of experience, but the help from Jan (STEAMhouse Technician) was invaluable. Just having the space to build the prototype is one thing, but the tools available are like something from a dream.

Faye Rowse, Start-up owner

The four phase process


We’ll review your concept with you to understand market fit and a likely development roadmap. Our aim is to propose a sensible route forward that will prove the concept and minimise your investment.


Using your vision, we’ll work with you to explore several variations that aim to enhance the usability, functionality and efficiency of your design.

3. Prototyping

Once the preferred concept is established, we’ll help you build digital or physical prototypes to validate the design. From clickable mock-ups to 3D printed models and working samples, our aim is to build and test until we get it right.

4. Production Design

We’ll work with you to prepare your design for digital production or full-scale manufacture, making the necessary adjustments and creating thorough specifications. We’ll support you to find, select and communicate with suitable development teams or specialist manufacturers.

Why choose us?

Unlike other product development services, our aim is to help you upskill along the way. This means we act as your partner, working in collaboration from the beginning of an idea through to launching in the market.

That said, product or service development isn’t always a linear process. That’s why our technicians and innovation managers will work with you to understand which phase of development you’re at and create a package of support that meets the specific needs of your business.

Here’s what you get

help to realise your business ideas

If you’re new to product or service innovation, we can help you take the leap and support you every step of the way.

Design and development support

Take the uncertainty out of bringing a new product or service to life. Our team has been there before and will support you to make the right decisions.

Idea development in a collaborative community

Join a vibrant community of start-ups, makers, creatives and innovators. Share experiences, get advice and grow your network.

New equipment, processes and technology

Take advantage of our production space and resources to experiment with new methods, materials and media that might just lead to your next breakthrough idea.

Create a milestone-based roadmap

Draw up a credible development plan with practical tasks you need to complete to progress with your idea.

Understand your customers to find your market fit

Assess target markets and develop your idea to meet real needs. Prototype, test and evaluate your design to validate price-points and manage costs.

Who’s it for?

This service has been developed to support start-ups and established businesses who don’t have the space, equipment or expertise to take an idea from Paper to Prototype.

If you want to remove the risk from your development process, and build your prototype quickly with the support of experienced teams who have stood in your shoes, please complete the form below.

Register your interest

Do you have an idea you would like to take from Paper to Prototype? Complete the form below and a member of the team will be in touch.

About your business

About you

Keep up to date with STEAMhouse

By submitting this form you agree to Birmingham City University contacting you about STEAMhouse and handling your information as outlined in our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

You may also like…