Helping Jewellery Quarter’s Future Shine

By on 28/01/2010 in News

Jewellery Quarter designer Kirsty Davis shows her latest colelction to Cllr Neville Summerfield.

Aspiring jewellery maker entrepreneurs in the Jewellery Quarter can look forward to a 'golden future' after Birmingham City Council agreed to £668,000 of investment for an innovative new business incubation centre.

The money, half from the Council and half from the European Regional Development Fund, will not only guarantee the future of the Design Space Incubation Centre, but allow it to improve and extend the support it offers to an increased number of start-ups over the next three years.

Cllr Neville Summerfield, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, said: “The incubation centre plays a key role in nurturing the next generation of jewellery designers who will ensure the Jewellery Quarter's success and status as the UK's premier centre for jewellery production is maintained in the future.

Since being established in 2005 the incubation centre has helped more than 43 start up designers become fully fledged self-employed businesses – with more than half establishing their businesses in the Quarter at the end of their placements.

Thanks to this new funding the centre will now be able to expand the support it offers by taking on 60 further jewellery designers and makers over the next three years, each on 12-month placement.

During their placement individuals are able to share modern equipment, workshop space and support services, drastically cutting the upfront expenditure which would normally be required by any start-up business before they begin earning money.

After a year of trading and building their business, these start-ups are then in a stronger position to achieve financial independence and be able to strike out on their own for the long term.
 
The Design Space incubation centre is one of a number of schemes currently being funded/backed by the Council which are designed to support and further promote growth within the quarter, other key schemes include:

? The £1.5m development of the Golden Square, a new public space at the heart of Quarter - work due to begin later this year
? A campaign to have the Jewellery Quarter listed as 'World Heritage Site'
? £120,000 project to restore historic gates and walls at Grade II listed Key Hill Cemetery. With a further £150,000 to repair and restore Key Hill and Warstone Lane cemeteries themselves.
? Extension of the Midlands METRO which will for the first time create a direct rail link from the Jewellery Quarter directly to the city centre, New Street Gateway and beyond
Cllr Summerfield added: “These projects demonstrate how far reaching our commitment to the Jewellery Quarter is. In fact to protect these and ensure we can maximise their impact on the ground we are already looking at how we can free up money by making more efficient use of our resources based both in the Quarter and our city centre teams.”

Birmingham City Council is contributing £334,000 to the Incubation Centre which match funds a £334,000 grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) delivered through Advantage West Midlands.

The Jewellery Quarter is home to more than 1,500 businesses, 200 listed buildings and produces 40% of all the jewellery manufactured in UK each year.

(For more information on the Design Space incubation project, please go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/design_space)

Ends

For more information contact Simon Houltby 0121 303 3503

 

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