Idea Birmingham was started by Birmingham City University as a think and do tank to position design-driven innovation and entrepreneurial collaboration at the heart of the region's growth strategy and economic success.
Working with our great globally recognised brand-led businesses, Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, AGA Rangemaster, Acme Whistles, Pashley Cycles and Brooks England – to mention just a few – The 'idea' was to promote Birmingham's reputation through closer association with these brands and celebrate their achievements.
It was about recognising Birmingham and the Midlands as the great 'making' centre for the UK: even in light of all the talk of manufacturing and its demise.
Businesses coming together with education. Celebrating emerging talent and linking it into our businesses to drive more economic growth.
Thanks to the sustained support of the busineses involved Idea Birmingham as a think and do tank has delivered two Design Expos – the first in 2012 at the Mailbox and the following year's event held at Millennium Point, involving up to 20,000 people from business, universities and local government.
New businesses have been formed and are growing fast.
This year we have promoted some through our Meet the Makers campaign which has featured on over 100 posters around the city. These include Jack Row's luxury writing instruments, Struthers-London work in creating two new watches for Morgan Cars and Monique Lee Millinery designing hats for Royal Ascot, Burman Bears, Sara Page Designs, BCU design concepts for AGA.
These stories represent just the tip of the iceberg that is the talent latent and still untapped within Birmingham,but they show what is possible if we continue to build these connections.
I would like to thank our founder members – AGA Rangemaster, Acme Whistles, Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham City University, Aston University, Birmingham City Council, Millennium Point, WB the Creative Jewellery Group, Glenn Howells Architects, Custard Factory, Morgan Motor Cars, RBS, Institute of Directors.
Many other companies have provided invaluable support – Brooks England, Pashley Cycles, Emma Bridgewater, Laney Amplification, Triumph Motorcycles, GKN, Rolls-Royce, CMA Moldform, HME Technology, Vax, Hille, Aston Martin, Westfield Sports Cars, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Cookson Gold, Toye Kenning Spencer, Deakin & Francis, Alucast, Premier Group and many others too – providing an insight into the rich variety of brand-led businesses across the Midlands.
In particular I would like to thank JCDecaux who have enabled us to promote very visibly the work our so many great businesses and talented entrepreneurs and designers.
Beverley Nielsen is the founder of Idea Birmingham
** The Birmingham Made Me Expo on November 19 is being held at Millennium Point and is the Midlands’ most important annual celebration of design-led manufacturing capabilities and achievements originating in the region. The annual celebration brings together world class businesses and thought leaders from a wide range of sectors. Attendees will witness a combination of events, demonstrations, performances and displays which showcase the region’s innovation and success in business. For more details go to www.birmingham-made-me.org
** As a partner for Birmingham Made Me, Please use the code BPOST89 for free entry to the event. Event Page can be found at birmingham-made-me.org/events/event/birmingham-made-me-design-expo-2014/.