Councillor Tahir Ali, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for development, transport and the economy, looks at the positive work the council has been doing to help the city’s entrepreneurs turn their aspirations into reality.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing businesses thrive and succeed, playing their part in boosting the economy, not just in our city but in the wider region as a whole.
Business start-ups play a key role in this – after all, the aspiring entrepreneurs of today could well go on to become the business leaders of tomorrow. However, having a good idea is one thing; getting that idea off the ground and turning it into a reality is quite another.
At Birmingham City Council, we want our city to be a fantastic place to do business, regardless of the size of your enterprise. We want people with fresh ideas which will benefit Birmingham – whether this means creating new jobs, investing in training opportunities for our young people or even breathing new life into parts of the city in need of regeneration.
This is why we set up our £5 million Creative Fund. Managed by Finance Birmingham, the fund is used to provide valuable investment for business start-ups, giving them that much-needed leg-up the ladder to help them put their innovative ideas into action.
Recent examples of Birmingham-based start-ups we have helped, in conjunction with our partners, include:
- GiveVision – a technology company which has created software for smart-glasses enabling the blind and visually impaired to receive an audio description of their surroundings. The company’s products have already been tested by four charities, with very positive feedback.
- Formatzone – a business specialising in fast-tracking the production, broadcast and distribution of high-quality television formats (the overall concept and branding of a copyrighted television programme). Formatzone has also secured partnerships with Birmingham City University’s new studio complex and Big Centre TV.
- Mutt Motorcycles – a motorcycle manufacturing start-up which will regenerate an underused warehouse and archway space at the Custard Factory, in Digbeth, offering jobs, apprenticeships and co-working opportunities.
Each of these start-ups is doing something different and innovative – and, crucially, they’ve chosen Birmingham as their base, demonstrating yet again that our city is a great place to do business. I look forward to seeing these businesses continue to develop and grow. I also look forward to being able to continue working with our partners to help give other business start-ups the boost they need.