The Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore, today officially launched Digbeth as Birmingham’s Social Enterprise Quarter. “What we are seeing here,” he said, “is the ‘repurposing’ of Digbeth – the old factories and warehouses of Birmingham’s oldest industrial area given a new lease of life by social and cultural entrepreneurs committed to social change and social inclusion.
“At the last count there were over 50 social enterprises trading in Digbeth and the surrounding area (and we suspect more waiting to be discovered) – predominantly run by and employing young people, many of their chief executives women or from black and ethnic minority communities.
“As a result of today’s public recognition of their efforts, we hope to see many more setting up or moving in to the area in the next five years. This city has built itself time and time again through individuals and entrepreneurs whose vision and ideas have spread not only around the UK but across the world. This initiative is part of Birmingham’s long history of social activism and reform.
“Birmingham City Council is wholeheartedly committed to buying goods and services which deliver social value and to working in partnership with the city’s social enterprise sector. I hope that, like me, you will want to do business with these young entrepreneurs and activists, helping to tackle deprivation and inequality, improve life chances and make Birmingham a better city in which to live and work.”
Over 100 people attended the launch event, which included Birmingham’s first social enterprise Christmas market and a chance to join a one of three Walks to meet social entrepreneurs in the area. After giving the opening address, Sir Albert Bore enjoyed looking around the market and chatting to stallholders who were selling everything from festive gifts to street food.