Rebecca Mawdsley attended a recent Birmingham Future Debate held by Sir Bernard Zissman of Advantage Business Angels on 5 July 2010 as part of the visit to Birmingham by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Nick Anstee.
The motion was "Birmingham: Striding Ahead in Promoting New Business Start-ups.... But are we supporting them financially?" and the panel consisted of 2010 BYPY winner and owner/founder of Glide Utilities, James Villareal; Andrew Springhall of www.inafishbowl.com; and Dr David Hardman MBE, managing director of Birmingham Science Park Aston as well as Sir Bernard.
Panel chair and Birmingham Development Company property developer Anthony McCourt opened the debate by stating that Birmingham is a city of contrasts. “We are known as the city of 1,000 trades and over 50% of UK patents are registered here every year,” he said. “But, we are also the city with the highest youth unemployment.” Dr Hardman argued : “In this region, there is still a glass ceiling on people’s expectations. People don’t think big enough. 100% of a cupcake is still a cupcake. We need to grow businesses of 50 people as well as 5.”
Andrew Springhall suggested: “You can buy a book from someone who has made their millions. But, you really need a well rounded approach. One size does not fit all.” Finally, James Villareal gave some insights into his own business expansion. “Turning 20 and raising £1/2 million for a business is great,” he said. “But it is a struggle to let go of your baby, to release the equity.”
The entrepreneurship theme will be continue to be promoted throughout 2010/11 as Darren Walker takes the helm as Birmingham Future Chair.