Birmingham’s Tech Sector Coming of Age


Birmingham’s fast growing technology sector is rapidly becoming a key pillar of our city region’s economy.

According to TechNation, ‘Silicon Canal’ is the UK’s number one location for tech start-ups outside of London, and it’s beyond doubt that our city is home to an amazingly diverse and fast-growing ecosystem of start-up and scale-up businesses working with leading universities and global corporates.

Digital and tech is already the fifth largest sector in the West Midlands, comprising 14,000 businesses and worth around £5bn. Growth prospects are really positive too, employment is expected to rise from just over 70,000 to 84,000 jobs over the next few years.

It’s easy to be focused on the immediate here and now, but Birmingham Tech Week gives the city’s leaders, tech entrepreneurs and innovators a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the great strides we’ve collectively achieved, and the ability to focus on the future trends and direction of the market.

Importantly, for an ever-evolving and globally competitive sector, we must ensure that Birmingham continues to be seen as a location of choice for innovators and disruptors to start a business, and also by larger corporates to come here and invest.

Our Innovation Birmingham campus is already playing an integral part in the growth of the sector. As the city region’s largest community of digital and tech innovators, over 170 companies are based on the campus employing more than 1,000 people, and many of these are now scaling up, with nearly £60m of investment raised, playing a key role in creating hundreds of high value new jobs for the region’s economy.

High on the agenda during Tech Week will, I am sure be the question of talent, and identifying what the city can do to make itself as attractive a proposition as for example, Berlin or Barcelona, for both established businesses and tech workers.

Birmingham’s central location provides us with a range of advantages over others, not least outstanding transport connectivity and two leading universities when it comes to world-class computer science graduates, Aston University and Birmingham City University; plus there’s another 20 universities within an hour’s radius.

It is therefore imperative for the city to maximise its offer to attract and retain the brightest talent coming out of higher education if we’re to drive our economy forward. Bruntwood SciTech is one of the partners collaborating on a strategic growth plan for the city region to encourage inward investment and inspiring the next generation, while building upon the city’s already thriving ecosystem that is allowing tech companies to flourish.

Innovation Birmingham regularly hosts Investor Showcases for tech and digital customers to pitch for investment. In an era where co-innovation and collaboration are key these events are also a great opportunity for our pitchers to meet like-minded companies and explore collaboration opportunities. We see such close connections with other early stage businesses as a key facet of the Birmingham ecosystem, and an example of the collaborative spirit that is so integral to the culture we’ve developed at Innovation Birmingham.

Having the facilities is also key to supporting collaboration particularly for larger corporates looking to co-locate with startups. At Innovation Birmingham we’re creating more spaces by expanding the campus, and the £30m investment will create an 11 storey, 120,000 sq ft new hub for tech and digital businesses called Enterprise Wharf, and it has been specifically designed with these businesses in mind.

The investment in our facilities will allow us to continue to meet the demand that we know exists from tech start-ups and scale ups from across the West Midlands who are looking for vibrant workspace, a collaborative ecosystem and access to finance and funding opportunities, new talent, new markets and professional services advice.

The following Birmingham Tech Week 2019 events will be hosted at Innovation Birmingham:

Monday, 7 October 2019

Your Business Powered by Space

Are you an SME or large organisation working in Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Digital, Health, Transport, Construction, Utilities, Energy etc? Could you be leveraging space technology and data for the benefit of your business?

“Your Business Powered by Space” event is organised by European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications (BA) Regional Ambassador for the Midlands and North East England, and is designed for companies who may not consider themselves to be in the space sector, but have the potential to use space assets such as Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation data and Satellite Communications to their commercial advantage.

She Means Business: Training workshop

She Means Business trainer David Glenwright will break-down the world of paid advertising on Facebook, explaining the differences between the Ad Centre and Ads Manager, sharing some hints and tips to create the perfect audience, and introducing an effective process that you can implement to turn unknown prospects into loyal customers

Tuesday 8th October 2019

Advo Fest 2019: Brand Advocacy Conference

AdvoFest is the UK’s largest Customer Advocacy Conference. Learn how to empower, inspire and engage advocates that help you grow faster and achieve more.

The Power of Storytelling – Discover your Unique Unfair Advantage by Uhubs

In this Uhubs session, Hasan Kubba co- author of the fascinating new book “The Unfair Advantage” will share the secrets to telling powerful stories that inspire, attract new users, clients and investors and take your startup growth to the next level. Through storytelling you can tap into the emotional aspect of your listeners in order to attract their attention, but also as a stepping stone to creating powerful and strong relationships with them as well.​

Wednesday 9th October

WM Young Life Event: Health Tech
Innovation Birmingham will be opening their doors to over 100 school children for a one day event, offering them the chance to explore the application of digital technologies for health and wellbeing.
Hosted by WM LIFE and the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN), this interactive day will feature 3 zones; Careers, Tech and Active Wellbeing, and will include workshops, demonstrations, have-a- go sessions, ‘health bazaar’, meet the inventor, careers in science and health, ‘make one change’ pledges, as well as hands-on sessions from our regions emergency services, and Kai the Fire Dog.

AI Frenzy 2019: Artificial Intelligence

Eagle Lab Birmingham bring you AI Frenzy as part of Birmingham Tech Week.
Our interactive afternoon event will allow you time to network with likeminded people and businesses and to listen to a number of Keynote Talks, Panel Discussions and much more.



Startup Founders: How to Find Your Unfair Advantage

In this Uhubs session, Hasan Kubba co-author of the fascinating new book “The Unfair Advantage” shares his top tips on how you can discover your personal unfair advantages. He will use case studies and go deep into the most important part of any startup. Perfect for new founding teams and boosting your chances of startup success.

Thursday 17th October


Technology is changing the way we live, work and play. We are rapidly moving into a world of virtual reality, immersive interfaces and 3D printed consumables. At this event, eye-opening talks and demonstrations from tech leaders will spark inspiration, uncovering how successful businesses have leveraged technology, old and new, to their advantage.

We look forward to meeting you during Tech Week to talk about our ambitious plans for growth and what you think the city needs to do to ensure that in the years ahead Birmingham is a byword for tech as much as it now for making cars and chocolate!

If you’d like to contact us to meet during Tech Week, or find out more about Innovation Birmingham, click here.

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