Birmingham is at the heart of the West Midlands creative and digital development industry and is home to some of the UK’s top creative and technology hubs.
For the latest in Creative England's ‘At A Glance’ series, we list a few of these hubs that provide support to start-ups and SMEs around Greater Birmingham.
The Impact Hub provides working space along with a global community for the residents to collaborate, network and partner. The Birmingham site has links to Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Singapore and San Francisco, offering possibly one of the largest collections of start-ups and SMEs for networking.
The Birmingham space is currently accepting applicants and its office is part of the historic industrial sector in the city. The space is open to companies that work in all sectors of business, with no restrictions on the type of organisation able to use the space.
With so much going on, there’s sure to be a variety of talent and influence at Impact. To find out how you can visit Impact Hub and become a resident, visit its website.
This hub is very supportive of the creative industries and is partnered with some of the sector’s biggest bodies, including the BBC, Microsoft, BT and Birmingham’s universities. The mission of Digital Birmingham is to encourage investment and generate economic growth and sustainability. In doing this the hub hopes to positively affect social inclusion and improve the local quality of life.
The organisation achieves these goals through its influence on SMEs, by supporting collaboration and the development of innovative ideas. Although Digital Birmingham have no physical office space for businesses, it does help to source funding and create opportunities for creative enterprises in Birmingham to thrive and succeed with the local council.
Currently, the hub’s main project for development is the instalment of ultra-fast broadband services in particular areas, with a vision to expand across the city. Click here for more information on the work Digital Birmingham does and how it could help your business.
The Custard Factory
As one of the UK’s largest creative and digital hubs there is a big attraction to Birmingham’s Custard Factory. Located just minutes away from the famous Bull Ring, the hub is at the centre of creativity in the city and its redevelopment in 1933 by architect Glenn Howells is famous across the world.
The Custard Factory now services more than 400 businesses and creatives from the West Midlands who use the space for offices, meetings, seminars and workshops. The hub is home to some mentionable businesses and organisations, including the Prince’s Trust and the BBC’s new Digital Innovation Unit, and can provide office space to companies, freelancers and SMEs.
The office space allows companies to connect and network with other local businesses as well as socialise during monthly events and tenant parties. The buildings are that of historic eggless custard manufacturer Alfred Bird and provide all the modern requirements for today’s creatives, encouraging inspiration and collaboration. For more information on The Custard Factory and how to apply for office space available, visit its website.
Silicon Canal provides help to technology-specific start-ups in Birmingham, a city that’s currently a hotbed for creative talent, in particular for its development of tech and innovation. The organisation is not-for-profit and voluntarily ran by tech business CEO’s in the area and their aim is to inwardly help businesses in the city.
Silicon Canal gives small businesses and start-ups the environment they need to network and grow locally and globally. Although the investment and aid is internal, the hub isn’t afraid to shout about the work and progress made by its companies in Birmingham. This, they hope, will encourage the world’s best talent to swarm to the city and develop their ideas within the West Midlands.
Birmingham’s canals have long linked the city to its surrounding areas, providing transport for trade and work and this is reflected in the mantra Silicon Canal stick by: connecting tech businesses throughout Greater Birmingham.
The company also help businesses find office space for developing their company, with links to the aforementioned Custard Factory and Impact Hub and also Open Media and Boxxed. Silicon Canal offers a variety of choices available for companies looking to survive, find out more on its website.
The Birmingham Science Park Aston is owned by Birmingham City Council and by working with Innovation Birmingham they are shaping the Smart Cities agenda along with the regeneration of hub development to help start-ups and SMEs across Greater Birmingham.
The hub brings together innovators and investors to develop relationships and encourage sustainable growth in the sector. Innovation Birmingham is the home of the Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) programme that offers multi-occupancy hot desking allowing start-ups to work in a creative rich environment.
The Innovation Birmingham programme is backed by ERDF and the hub is perfect for SMEs to set up a small office and benefit from the number of events and accelerators available. With a catalogue of over one hundred business helped so far, the e4f programme offers flexible working space and encourages sponsorship and investment from the public and private sectors.
Although still under development and part of the Birmingham Science Park Aston, this new site will boast 3,500 square meters of floor space to promote mobile working. The site will open with a new incubator programme that promises individual office space, event space on location and technology demonstrations.
The office is due to open its doors later this year and the space will be available to all businesses across Greater Birmingham to promote partnerships and innovation between businesses and grow the creative and digital community in the area. To find out more about the Birmingham Science Park Aston and the development of iCentrum click here.
To find out how Creative England can help emerging creative businesses, visit its website.