Few cities in the past decade have undergone a makeover as big as the one taking place in Birmingham; the city centre has been transformed and expanded, with new Millennial structures beautifying its look, reshaping the once bleak atmosphere of its former Brutalist concrete buildings.
As the “Big City Plan” foresees further expansion of the city centre, as well as the set-up of new spots for industries like advanced manufacturing, life sciences, ICT and food, investors and businesses alike seem excited about these changes.
Local retail has been given a strong boost by the growing professional services and executive spending power. The city is also gaining popularity overseas; it has caught the eye of international investors who voted it “Foreign Direct Investment Destination of the Future” at the global investment awards in Shanghai in December – it was the only UK city to win an award.
Birmingham has also made sure there is enough space for businesses. The expanding Innovation Birmingham complex now houses 86 tech firms, many of them part of the Entrepreneurs for the Future Programme which actively supports the growth of technology companies in the city. In addition, Birmingham’s old industrial zones are projected to be turned into headquarters that will welcome new start-ups.
One main contributor is Oxygen Accelerator, which provides strong support to Birmingham’s tech firms. Every member of Oxygen Accelerator’s core team (Simon Jenner, Mark Hales and Kath Preston) are Birmingham-based. Jenner has set a goal of helping create “100 tech start-ups in the city each year,” and Birmingham’s buzzing tech community makes him believe it is possible. With more and more tech businesses emerging in the city, he seems to be on the right track.
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