The IDEA Birmingham initiative, which is being spearheaded by Birmingham City University, will culminate in a Design Expo at the Mailbox from June 15-22 which will include a special awards evening.

Emerging talent, students and internationally renowned brand leaders and entrepreneurs from the region are being asked to log on to IDEA Birmingham’s newly launched website – – where nominations are now being sought for seven awards categories including: Best Brand; Best Innovation; Best Emerging Brand; Best Radical Design; Best Collaboration (student-business); Best Collaboration in Learning and Teaching and the Lifetime Achievement Award for an enduring contribution to design and innovation. The shortlist will be drawn up by a selection panel headed by Ian Callum RDI, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars and will then be open to online public voting.

Mr Callum said: “Jaguar has a thriving design presence in the Midlands – the results of which are represented globally in the form of the XK, XF and XJ and in pioneering concept cars such as the C-X16 and C-X75. I’m proud to be able to play a part in inspiring the next generation of creative talent in the Midlands.”

Dozens of companies and organisations have already pledged their support to the initiative include AGA Rangemaster, Glenn Howells Architects, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Mailbox and Cogent Elliot to name but a few and William McGrath, group chief executive of AGA Rangemaster Group plc and a founder member of IDEA Birmingham believes the initiative will help promote the region’s global aspirations.

He said: “We are greatly encouraged by the progress to date in launching the IDEA Birmingham Design Expo and Awards as a celebration of design and innovation excellence in the Midlands. It will put the region firmly on the international stage.”

Beverley Nielsen, director of employer engagement at Birmingham City University, added: “Now that has been launched we would like to encourage all design-led companies to nominate themselves or others that they recognise as leaders or innovators in their field.

"We have much to celebrate and many good stories to tell – we look forward to promoting these and creating the links between emerging talent and dynamic businesses looking to drive growth on the back of new ideas and approaches.”

As well as entries for the awards, applications are also being sought for exhibitors to showcase their innovations, designs and concepts. Simply go to the website and registering.