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Why you should do business in Birmingham

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Well since our Best Ten UK Cities To Do Business In article last week I have been inundated with comments, criticisms and snarky comments.

All because I left out my hometown Birmingham.

As one of the most vocal supporters of the city I give the ultimate compliment of by living in a lot of people were surprised I did not include the city (I never call it The Second City).

Even the team of one of the candidates for the new position of West Midlands Mayor got in touch.

However, the reason I did not include Birmingham was because I have a little thing called journalistic integrity.

I used a certain formula to decide which cities were the best to start businesses in, so I could not really just put Brum in because my parents had sex there 41 years ago.

However, I do recognise Birmingham will struggle in a lot of these league tables because of its size.

It is by far the biggest city outside of London, Manchester does not even come close, but this counts against it statistically.

Living in the city I think two breakthroughs will help Birmingham kick on economically.

The first is HS2. Just walking around the city, from the new rail college to the work beginning on the new Curzon Street station there is no doubt HS2 will bring the cash flowing from London.

Whether it be house and land prices rocketing as Londoners realise they can live in Brum and work in London easily, they will be able to get to Euston quicker than most people in Greater London.

The construction industry is going to get a boost from HS2 as are a multitude of other sectors including media, fashion and engineering.

As well as HS2 Birmingham is improving its transport infrastructure, last year the Metro was extended through the city centre, Birmingham Airport spent £40m extending its runway and Sprint buses will soon be whizzing up and down the Hagley Road.

The second boost the city will get will be the creation of the West Midlands Mayor – on May either former John Lewis CEO Andy Street will win the election for the Tories or Sion Simon will clinch it for Labour.

The importance of the region having a single voice to shout at Westminster will be a brave new land.

For too long the Black Country, Birmingham and Coventry have all fought amongst each other but the new mayor’s cabinet will be made up of the leaders of Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Solihull Councils.

George Osborne loved lauding the Northern Powerhouse, but when it came down to brass tacks, the West Midlands got more cash in the devolution deal despite being behind the North West in terms of working together.

But if it is statistics you need to prove Birmingham is on the up then data released by StartUp Britain had Birmingham as the best place to start a business.

Analysis of Companies House data showed 17,473 new businesses were registered in Birmingham during 2016 – an increase of 25% on the previous year, and more than any other city outside the capital.

Birmingham has now retained its position as the number one regional destination for start-ups for four consecutive years.

The number of new businesses is almost double that of Manchester’s, which follows in second place with 9,416 companies registered during 2016, whilst Glasgow is third with 7,845.

Birmingham also surpassed London to become the country’s leading city for business growth rates in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics’ business counts data.

Neil Rami, chief executive of inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham, said: “Birmingham has simultaneously outpaced the capital city to become the UK’s leading destination for business growth, and is the UK’s number one regional destination for start-up creation.

“The city’s young, talented workforce, newly developed infrastructure, and range of incubator and accelerator programmes, has fostered a strong ecosystem that fuels a culture of innovation.”

So the case for doing business in Birmingham is very strong, hopefully now I will be able to walk down the street again or turn on my phone without getting abuse!

If you want to service customers in Birmingham, a virtual 0121 number could benefit you.

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