If you look across the country in search of for bright spots, you will find that Birmingham is beaming stronger than it has done for decades, possibly centuries. It is common to talk about the innovations that in the past came from Birmingham – like the steam engine, X-ray photography, and the pneumatic tyre. We are used to talking up the region’s commercial behemoths – JLR, Rigby Group, E.On, GKN. But the city – and the wider West Midlands – is increasingly becoming a real hub for a new generation of innovators, whether in design, media, craft, advertising or healthcare.
Across the region, but especially in Birmingham, there is a hive of entrepreneurial activity – one that will only grow with the arrival of HS2, and other major infrastructure projects like the Metro. Why talk about London when Birmingham has better connections, better prices and less ego!
That is why, in the early summer of 2017, James Craig and Nick Prior, bought the Custard Factory, Fazeley Studios and 15 acres of eclectic workspace for makers, creators and innovators in Digbeth.
James Craig was quoted as saying ‘Nick and I are passionate about Birmingham and Digbeth in particular. We are at the beginning of our journey and are fortunate to have an incredibly eclectic estate that is home to 500 independent businesses (big and small). Our predecessor Bennie Gray is a visionary. He realised that diversity and independence was important 30 years ago; the same is true today. We want to carry that spirit on.
The area’s potential is extraordinary and we intend to preserve and grow Digbeth as the natural home for tech talent in the Midlands and across the UK. Watch this space………we are about to lift the lid on a programme of building improvement, better services and hospitable spaces. If you want boring square glass boxes (big rents), homogenised buildings and a forced community spirit that’s fine; if you want fun, uplifting and authentic spaces then Digbeth is where you belong’.
Take a look at the first stage of the plans in the Courtyard now.