Some of the most deprived areas in Birmingham could soon be a hive of entrepreneurial activity if a bid for Government funding is successful.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Birmingham City Council are working in partnership to develop an application for Local Enterprise Growth Initiative funding.
If successful it will help increase enterprise and investment in 12 of the city's poorest wards - Aston, Bordesley Green, Kingstanding, Ladywood, Longbridge, Lozells and East Handsworth, Nechells, Shard End, Soho, Sparkbrook, Tyburn and Washwood Heath.
Jerry Blackett, policy director at Birmingham Chamber, who is leading the bid, said today: "The plan is to increase the amount of people setting up in business on their own by generating more awareness and interest in enterprise. Through community-led initiatives, there will be improved access to support and a change in perception of the areas to somewhere that means business.
"Our aim is to transform the enterprise environment of these areas and unlock the entrepreneurial potential of the residents, bringing forward a new generation of business people. Many of them may never have considered going it alone before but we want to show it is not as difficult as they think."
He added: "We want to make the areas attractive for investors by improving the perception of them. By encouraging inward investment, local business retention, investment and expansion we will create local employment, boosting the whole Birmingham economy."
Coun Ken Hardeman, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: "LEGI provides a significant opportunity to tackle low levels of enterprise and business growth within some parts of the city. We want to build on Birmingham's strong history of entrepreneurship to ensure people from all communities can access enterprise opportunities.
"A successful bid will help us to turn around some of the city's most deprived areas, creating better futures for both individuals and local businesses. It is hoped that the bid will also help to draw greater inward investment into these communities, providing more sustainable employment for local people."
The chamber and city council are keen to seek the views of local businesses, stakeholders and their representatives in the development of the bid.
They are going through a consultation process to identify local priorities and potential solutions. These will inform the development of the bid before it is submitted to the government in September.
* Full details and the opportunity to submit comments or suggestions are available on website www.birminghameconomy.org.uk/legi/legihome.htm. Any comments or suggestions can also be sent to enquiries@birmingham chamber.org.uk and firstname.lastname@example.org.