Planning application lodged for iCentrumTM; central Birmingham’s first speculative office building in four years

A planning application has been submitted for the much anticipated expansion of the Innovation Birmingham Campus. Funding is in place for the 38,000sq ft (3,350sqm) iCentrumTM building, enabling construction work to commence as soon as planning approval is granted.

The new businesses in iCentrumTM will create 400 high-value skilled tech jobs, generating £25 million of GVA to the local economy per annum.

The Innovation Birmingham Campus is wholly owned by Birmingham City Council. A commercial loan for the £7.5m construction and fit-out costs has been secured from the Council. As a result of an OJEU tender process, iCentrum will be delivered by Stourport-on-Severn headquartered Thomas Vale Construction Ltd, which is part of one of the world’s leading construction groups, Bouygues Construction.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City Council said: “I am delighted with the progress that Innovation Birmingham has made in developing its concept for iCentrumTM,. This scheme will be central Birmingham’s first speculative development since the completion of The Cube in 2010 and it signifies new market confidence and adds demonstrable substance to the recent focus on Birmingham as a ‘tech city’.”

To read more about Innovation Birmingham and the full press release click here

Innovation Birmingham celebrates 100 tech start-ups

Innovation Birmingham celebrates 100 tech start-ups in less than five years

Innovation Birmingham held a milestone event for 150 people Wednesday 1st July to celebrate the 100th tech start-up to enrol onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Innovation Birmingham, the flagship project, which was launched in November 2009, has seen its tech start-ups secure over £4 million in initial funding rounds. 170 skilled jobs have been created as a result.

The focus of the event was presentations from the Entrepreneurs for the Future alumni and current cohort of start-ups going through the six month incubation process. The programme, which is about providing a supportive environment for tech start-ups to grow and develop their businesses, includes dedicated one-to-one mentoring with an assigned Entrepreneur in Residence. Other aspects of the offer include a variety of events and workshops delivered by leading Birmingham professionals to aid commerciality, access to finance, free co-working space, meeting rooms, telephone and wifi. The total package has a monetary value of £10,000, but is free for qualifying innovative tech start-ups.

Nick Holzherr, serial entrepreneur and CEO of said: “I was the first to enrol onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, with a tech business that continues to run today. Had it not been for the support I received, I think I may have left Birmingham and opted for a career in banking.
“Having been running from a building next to the Entrepreneurs for the Future centre for over two years, I’m grateful for everything I learnt while on the programme. Birmingham has been brilliant for us – we’ve been able to afford and attract a technically highly skilled team to build a product that we’re offering to markets around the world.”

To read the full press release visit the Innovation Birmingham Campus news page

Alex Chudnovsky and Dixon Jones of Majestic SEO lr

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Majestic SEO launches new product to categorise the web

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Majestic SEO has launched a groundbreaking specialist search engine to categorise the entire World Wide Web. Called ‘Topical Trust Flow’, the innovation has been seven years in the making and is the first of its kind to eradicate the need for manually categorised website directories.

Topical Trust Flow categorises over seven hundred billion web pages – including all Twitter accounts – into 800 topics to enable easy analysis and comparison. Trust Flow scores are also provided, where higher rankings are achieved by having links directly relevant to a web page.

The new search engine is multi-lingual and enables analysis of the Web to be fully automated. For organisations that want to boost their own web presence, it provides clear results as to which sites are more influential to link to, without actually viewing any web pages.  Finding appropriate content can be carried out with laser-like precision.

Read full press release here>>
o find out more about being based or having an office at Innovation Birmingham Campus see here>>

Innovation Birmingham event Transport Systems Catapult

Can Birmingham become a global leader of new transport technologies?

The event, organised by Innovation Birmingham and Transport Systems Catapult brought together speakers from a start-up, major IT company and the public sector, to try and establish whether Birmingham had the potential to become a global leader in new transport technologies.

Over the course of the afternoon, there were several strands of thought on the link between the institutions and characteristics of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region and its suitability as a ‘living lab’ for new transport technologies.

Birmingham sits at the heart of England, giving it a geographical advantage as a transport hub – and by extension, a logical location to develop a smart, low carbon transport system. Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Andy Street highlighted how this could feed into the city region’s ambitions for the HS2 project: not to be “the end of the line”, but the centre. This was not solely about location, but also a challenge to make Birmingham the home of the associated engineering and technological support, research and development that accompanies such a key infrastructure project.

An associated point to location is size: Birmingham is a large city, the largest local authority in Europe: solutions that work here will be applicable to other large conurbations. And as Paul Zanelli, Chief Technology Officer for the Transport Systems Catapult noted, these solutions are as much about identifying what you no longer need to travel for – for example, if high speed internet is regionally available, homeworking (or working in other spaces closer to home) becomes more viable.

Read full blog post here>> 

networking - crop

A celebration of Entrepreneurs for the Future’s 100th tech start-up

Innovation Birmingham invites you to join us for a milestone celebration of the highly acclaimed Entrepreneurs for the Future programme. 

Now in its 5th year – having been established in November 2009 – 100 ‘e4f’ tech start-ups have been incubated.

With over 170 skilled jobs having been created, and in excess of £4 million raised by the start-ups in initial funding rounds, this event will provide an opportunity to mingle with the e4f alumni; “the e4fers”.

This will be an evening for Birmingham’s burgeoning tech scene to feel immensely proud! 

Register to attend this event>>

View the event Agenda>>

Dr David Hardman, Innovation Birmingham - smart city

Connecting to communicate, collaborate and create economic success

Thought piece Dr David J Hardman MBE, CEO, Innovation Birmingham.

A well-documented fact is that cities create economic potential, but not all deliver to the fullest possible extent. In large cities – which by their very nature stimulate ideas and opportunities – individuals with related or complementary objectives become buried in city infrastructure. This limits connections and thwarts delivery of economic growth. The solution is in part visible clustering, or the establishment of knowledge quarters; but too often these fall victim to hype or become sector specific and limit serendipitous opportunity.

External influences on an ecology change the [genetic] diversity therein. In the same way, innovation ecosystems are intrinsically dynamic, subject to technological, socio-economic and political influences. Growth stimulation strategies often focus on single issues – key sectors, business support, skills and/or access to finance.  All are issues in their own right, but in reality they are components of a complex ecology across the city region; strengthen one component in isolation and the factor limiting successful growth just shifts elsewhere.

City-based support interventions needs to be considered as part of a connected web of activity – not a single linear intervention – and delivery must be achieved in a sustainable, additive and supportive manner that can move to reflect prevailing needs.

In the past, city economies were driven by local supply chains comprised of small and micro-businesses. Today too, the vast majority of businesses are micro or small; but especially in the knowledge economies. Supply chains are no longer local – like their markets, they are global. This means the types of connectivity have also changed.

We talk about smart cities; they need to be connected cities – connected internally and externally. As the importance of data as a commodity grows, sector boundaries become blurred. Opportunities derived from the application of data spread cross-sector and such horizontal approaches yield real and unique scope.

Cities generate data and the innovation community needs to be free to derive new and novel products and services. We pay tribute to the importance of entrepreneurs in terms of enterprise development, but are city administrators creating the fertile data rich environments – sufficiently free of red tape – to truly enable smart economic development?


A smart city is a city engaged with its citizens. To achieve this, innovation needs to be driven from the ground up – not top down; which will always limit outcomes through lack of ‘2020 vision’, or a crystal ball. New ideas and business concepts need to be connected into the innovation ecology, as well as to an environment and holistic services that meet local business needs. These need to be defined and supplied by groups that actively understand the clients, are intimately engaged with local economies, and can create complete innovation ecologies.

This is not about PR hype and coffee-shop discussions about entrepreneurship. It is about real and sustained connected support infrastructures that generate connectivity and catalyse communication and collaboration. More interconnected focal points need to be provided where like-minded creatives can access the sources of data, the skills and expertise to drive innovative new products and services, without unnecessary limitations on their potential.



New: Topical Trust Flow – Full Web Categorisation

In April Majestic announced that they have categorized the whole web. Not just by website – but every page and sub-domain as well. Majestic are showing data for the whole of our Fresh Index – data seen over the last 90 days of web crawling. It is the intention to extend this to its Historic index as well in the near future.

This is a huge leap forward for outreach and inbound marketers, advertising strategists, PR professionals, business analysts, SEOs and no doubt new audiences as well. Previously, the only practical way to look at a set of websites by category was to take them from a manually reviewed directory like the Open Directory Project. If a site was not in there, then it wasn’t classified. If it WAS in there, the whole site was usually tarred with the same category.

Now, we can show the proximity of any page within a site to any topic and we can show the trust we put in our prediction with a new score: Topical Trust Flow.

Post written by Dixon Jones, Marketing Director, Majestic SEO

Read the full post on the Innovation Birmingham website HERE>> 

John Cook, Clive Bawden and Alistair Fox Innovation Birmingham Smart City

Innovation Birmingham appoints two new Entrepreneurs in Residence to drive tech start-ups

Innovation Birmingham has appointed two new Entrepreneurs in Residence to further invest in the successful Entrepreneurs for the Future programme.

John Cooke and Alistair Fox, experienced sales and marketing professionals within the tech industry, have been awarded 18 month contracts to spend at least one day a week working with the 20-25 tech start-ups that are incubated within the Entrepreneurs for the Future centre each year.

John Cooke spent the first 18 years of his career working in a business development capacity for Microsoft and IBM. On leaving Microsoft, he became an entrepreneur and has established two successful businesses. Alistair Fox has held Marketing Director positions for large firms in the utilities and tech sectors, including global telecommunications giant Marconi Communications, where he was Marketing Director for five years. He left Marconi to join Microsoft, and has since worked with a number of tech companies as a marketing and sales consultant.

Read the full post by Innovation Birmingham HERE>>

Birmingham’s top decision-makers to launch Making a Difference with Data programme on 26 June

Some of the top policy and decision-makers for Birmingham’s public services will be getting together in the city on 26 June to launch Making a Difference with Data – a new programme about the role of data in creating social and economic wellbeing.

The Making a Difference with Data programme is being developed and run by Birmingham-based Boilerhouse Media in collaboration with England’s core cities and is being supported by Digital Birmingham as part of Birmingham’s Smart City Roadmap.

Cllr James McKay,Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, who will be opening the event and talking about the central role of data in Birmingham’s plans to become a ‘smart city’ said:

I welcome the Making a Difference with Data programme with its emphasis on communicating the benefits of using data and open data for better decision-making. There needs to be much greater awareness among leaders locally and nationally about the volume and value of data they can access to inform everything they are doing to improve cities, regions and neighbourhoods. This programme will help make that happen.

The launch is an invitation-only event bringing the city’s leaders in health, social care, housing, economic development and policing, together with representatives from transport, education and the third sector.

Speakers who will be presenting their ideas about how data can contribute to improved pubic services, more sustainable economic development and greater citizen involvement in their city and neighbourhoods include:

  • Emer Coleman, data entrepreneur and former deputy director of the Government Digital Service
  • Jas Bains MBE, Chief Executive of Ashram Housing Association
  • Shane O’Neill, chairman,
  • David Frost CBE – First Chairman, LEP Network (event chair)

Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust will be fielding one of their top team to speak, and there will also be presentations on the data programmes at Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds.

Further information can be found at and also via @madwdata and the #smartbrum hashtag.


Delivering healthcare digitally

Birmingham (creative commons

There are increasing number of citizen centric health care consumer products on the market to support self-care management enabling individuals to engage digitally with their own health and care and the care of close family members. A number of emerging opportunities are taking forward a disruptive and transformative approach to deliver new models of healthcare. The opportunity for the Council, NHS and other partners is to look at how we support better integration around new pathways of healthcare. Health United Birmingham is a recent initiative and great example of this supporting Action G1 in the Birmingham Smart City Roadmap. It has just won £1m from the Prime Minister’s £50m Challenge Fund to pilot new ways of providing primary care.

“Digital Life Sciences has teamed up with Birmingham GPs to make it easier for patients see their doctors where and when they want to.

It’s part of a consortium called Health United Birmingham (HUB) that has won almost £1m from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to pilot new ways of improving access to general practice.

HUB is a partnership between two GP partnerships – Vitality and Bellevue – and Digital Life Sciences, a healthcare technology and change management company. It’s supported by Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups, Sandwell Council and Birmingham City Council.
It aims to radically change the way in which 60,000 Birmingham people access primary care. From July this year, patients will be able to:

• see GPs from 8am to 8pm seven days a week
• use instant messaging to chat to clinicians
• manage their care from their homes.

The pilot comprises a central hub which acts the single point of entry for 60,000 people. Technology is used to increase access to the hub. There is a digital channel through which patient records are stored and shared. The patient, the GP, the specialists and community workers can all see the patient’s medical records at the same time.

Patients can use instant messaging, or teleconferencing for consultations with a range healthcare professional to access their healthcare from home.

They can upload their care plans, monitor and record their blood sugar levels and exercise regimes, and choose to share this with clinicians and support staff at the touch of a button.
As it has already been proven that self-monitoring in this way reduces hospital admissions by 15 per cent, it is expected that the benefits to patients of extended hours and self-monitoring will be funded by the reduction in cost of patients using secondary care.”

Read the full article here

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