Birmingham on board the new business bus

Bus tour to visit as city on course for record start-up figures.

Following a high-profile launch at Buckingham Palace as guests of the Duke of York, national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain will shortly arrive in Birmingham as part of a summer bus tour providing inspiration and support to thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs.

As an indicator of local entrepreneurial drive, new figures released by StartUp Britain for the tour show 9,151 new businesses were formed in Birmingham in the first six months of 2016. This compares with 14,152 new businesses registered in the city throughout 2015.

Now in its fifth year, the StartUp Britain tour, powered by NatWest and sponsored by 123 Reg and .uk, is visiting 30 towns and cities in the space of six weeks, a record number for the campaign. Parking the bus in public squares and high streets, StartUp Britain recruits local entrepreneurs and experts to come on board and give free, impartial advice to anyone wanting to start or grow a business.

As one of the 30 stops, the bus will be parked in Victoria Square from 10am-4.30pm on Monday 25th July. Visitors to the bus will be able to:

● get inspiration and support from established local entrepreneurs;

● speak to a professional business mentor/coach from Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, the GBSLEP Growth Hub or the Innovation Birmingham Campus

● get business finance advice from NatWest;

● take the 123 Reg digital skills survey and trial its new digital online training platform;

● receive a free .uk domain and £100 discounts on the 123 Reg Website Builder

The bus’s visit to Birmingham is supported by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, GBSLEP Growth Hub, Innovation Birmingham Campus, BizBritain, University of Worcester, CrowdFund Campus, Hot500, PitchForMe, Ask The Chameleon and others. It is also supported by national partners including The Prince’s Trust, Entrepreneurial Spark, UnLtd and the Intellectual Property Office. Birmingham is the twenty-sixth stop on the tour – the bus is travelling on to Leicester, Milton Keynes and Reading before a final day in London on Friday 29th July.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Business Birmingham, the city’s inward investment agency, said: “Birmingham is on course for a record number of start-ups in 2016 to smash last year’s total by nearly 30% and maintain the city’s status as the most entrepreneurial UK location outside London.

“From the funds and expert advice given by the likes of Finance Birmingham to the support provided by the region’s accelerator programmes and incubator spaces, Birmingham offers an ideal environment to set up and expand a business. Billions have been invested in the city’s transport links in recent years – including New Street station and extensions to the Midland Metro tram line and Birmingham Airport runway – and the city is an important centre for sectors including advanced manufacturing, professional services and digital.

“In the current political climate, it shouldn’t be underestimated just how significant a role Birmingham’s ambitious new companies can play in driving the region’s economic growth, so it’s heartening that the city continues to perform strongly as a start-up hotspot.”

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub Manager Ian Mclaughlan, commented: “Greater Birmingham is one of the country’s leading locations to start and grow a business. These latest figures from StartUp Britain are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that exists within the region. We make it a priority at the Growth Hub to support and provide the necessary advice to champion this growing ambition and to drive forward our economy.

“By coordinating the vast amount of business support on offer across the wider region, we hope to sustain Greater Birmingham’s reputation as the number one start up hotspot outside of the capital.”