Birmingham City Council replies to yesterday’s Post article by Bennie Gray (Pete Ashton now has the whole article by Gray).

It makes an interesting exercise to Google the names of the support schemes that councillors point to, as if one were a potential inward-investor in the city…

“the ‘Business support scheme for creative industries'” (One mention on Google — and it’s today’s Post article)

“Enterprise City high growth programme” (Four passing mentions on Google — one of these is today’s Post article. The programme has no dedicated web page or website)

“Young Person’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise” (One mention on Google — and it’s today’s Post article)

“Aston Villa FC Enterprise Academy” (One mention on Google — and it’s today’s Post article)

If one goes pro-actively Googling for schemes, one finds the Business Support for the Creative Industries (BSCI) which provided small grants to grow existing businesses. The BSCI was probably what the councillor meant when he mentioned the “Business support scheme for creative industries” to the Post‘s Creative Industries reporter. Although, also via Google, one also finds that BSCI funding apparently ran out in June 2008.

There was (is?) also a Council scheme called Birmingham Interaction, which was meant to produce things like a…

“Birmingham Industry and Genius Marketplace, providing business opportunities for creative and non-creative industries; the e-creative information portal; and the Creative Channel Network, offering artists an opportunity to exhibit their work in public spaces”

… although it seems this European Social Fund project ended in Feb 2008…

“The programme runs from 1 May 2005 to 29 February 2008, and is particularly focused on supporting a range of people under-represented in the Cultural & Creative Industries (CCI) sector: females, people with disabilities or accessibility requirements, and people disadvantaged by ethnic group, location, economic, educational or social background”

It seems that Birmingham Interaction’s Creative Channel never really got off the ground. The Birmingham Industry and Genius marketplace website is defunct and domain-squatted.

Searching for more creative industries support, this time directly via the Council’s website, one finds the Creative Region Fund offering small grants. But, once again, the funding seems to have run out…

“for the time being no feasibility or creative space regional enquiries/applications will be considered, as the programme has now fully committed its funds.”