Following the recent launch of Tech Nation, we are running a series of profile pieces on each of the digital clusters featured in the report.
There are communities of startups and digital creative agencies emerging all around Birmingham’s ‘Silicon Canal‘, and other key areas. There is a rich heritage of advanced manufacturing in the Birmingham and West Midlands region, and Jaguar Land Rover, Moog, UTC and JCB all have major operations in the area.
The talent base in the area is growing, with just over 20,000 people in digital employment in the area, supported by five local universities. Emerging hubs include Birmingham Research Park and the city’s production and animation studios; Digbeth and the Custard Factory, one of the UK’s largest hubs for digital, creative and technology businesses.
As with all growing startup communities, it is vital that support networks emerge to assist entrepreneurs with all of their needs. Birmingham has this in abundance with the Silicon Canal network; hackathon events like Launch48; and Oxygen Accelerator, one of the leading programmes in the UK. The Entrepreneurs for Future Centre within Birmingham Science Park’s Innovation Campus is providing key support services.
With the level of support and networking available, its no wonder that the cluster has produced some fantastic startups such as Droplet (payments transfer), Soshi Games (mobile app developer), and Meducation (social network for doctors).
Chief Entrepreneur at Oxygen Accelerator, Simon Jenner, noted how quickly the cluster has grown: “The digital technology scene is growing fast – there are around 40-50 events every month – from a PHP group to a CEO meetup – most of which weren’t around 18 months ago.”
Three local companies were profiled in the report: