Be More Birmingham

BE MORE CREATIVE returns for Be More Birmingham, an unbeatable celebration of creative revolution in the city region

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Be More Birmingham was an unmissable event celebrating the city region’s creativity. Spanning film & TV, tech & digital and games, Birmingham is at the bull’s eye of the creative sector. The day was a celebration of creative revolution, as we shone a light on this vibrant, youthful and diverse city region. Be More Birmingham brought together SMEs, policy makers, broadcasters and talent within the creative industries for a day filled with high-profile keynotes and discussions. Hosted by BBC1’s Midlands Today presenter Elizabeth Glinka, with keynotes from the mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and an In Conversation with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, the event celebrated Birmingham’s creative past whilst looking ahead to its exciting future.

The event was run in partnership with ERDF and Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP


13:00    Registration and refreshments

14:00    Introduction by Elizabeth Glinka

Our host, Elizabeth Glinka (Reporter, Politics Live) welcomes the audience and introduces the theme for the day, a celebration of the city’s creative revolution.

14:05    Be More Inspired:

Amrit Singh, Creative Director and Artist
Amrit Singh is a multi-disciplined and multi award winning creative director, artist, content creator, live streamer and inspirational public speaker.

14:15    Be More Creative:

Caroline Norbury MBE, Chief Executive Creative England
Caroline will give an overview of the purpose of the day, Creative England’s work in the region and vision for the future.

14:30    Be More Birmingham:

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands
We are honoured to have Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, discussing the unique creativity of Birmingham, and the role the creative industries play in the region’s economy.

14:45    PANEL: Be More Productive

High-level discussion on how creative businesses can scale in the UK, discussing the recently announced DCMS Scale Up programme, and exploring what support creative businesses would benefit from, in order to grow and scale.
Hosted by Mehjabeen Patrick, Chief Finance Officer, Creative England
Mehjabeen is responsible for the implementation and running of all operating functions across Creative England. With extensive experience as a Finance Director, Mehjabeen also oversees the financial functions ensuring that all areas of Creative England are aligned with the strategic objectives set by the CEO and Board.
Jenny Tooth,
OBE, CEO, UK Business Angels Association
The UK Business Angels Association is the trade body for angel and early stage investing, representing over 15,000 investors around the UK. Jenny has over 20 years’ experience of facilitating SMEs’ access to investment, both in the UK and internationally. Jenny was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to small businesses.
Simon Jenner,
Board Member & Investment in Tech Lead, Silicon Canal
Simon has a passion for supporting other entrepreneurs and for the last 10 years has been working with entrepreneurs from across the world, firstly through running Birmingham’s only technology incubator and then moving to become the CEO of a leading technology accelerator. Simon has helped over 50 startups go from idea to investment, raising in excess of £10 million equity investment.
Julian Dennard,
Fund Principal, Mercia Fund Managers
Julian joined the Group in 2016 and is the Fund Principal for the Midlands Engine Investment Fund with responsibility for the wider Midlands region. His focus is to invest in high-growth technology businesses, with a particular focus on the Software & the Internet, and the Electronics, Materials, Manufacturing & Engineering sectors. Julian currently sits on the Board of W2 Global Data, VoxPopMe and Living Map.
David Furmage,
Creative Industries and Cultural Lead, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
David leads on the development and delivery of the Creative Industries Action Plan, including developing cultural assets, high-growth creative clusters along with innovation policy, business support, skills and promotion. David is also responsible for leading on the development of the Local Industrial Strategy across the West Midlands Combined Authority region, working with a wide-range of cross-regional stakeholders.

15:30    Be More Ambitious:

Amit Pate, Co-founder and CEO, Snaptivity
We hear from Amit Pate on his start-up journey in Birmingham, sharing how he has built award-winning company Snaptivity which is revolutionising sport spectatorship.

16:00    Break & Networking

16:20    PANEL: Be More Strategic

Panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the region when it comes to attracting and nurturing creative talent.
Hosted by Joe Godwin,
Director, BBC Midlands and BBC Academy
Joe has led an increased investment into BBC Birmingham over the past two years, establishing it as the BBC’s new centre of excellence for skills, recruitment and talent development for the whole UK and moving 300 jobs to The Mailbox. As Director of the BBC Academy – the UK media sector’s biggest skills trainer – Joe is responsible for maintaining and growing the skill levels of the BBC’s world class content makers, journalists and digital creatives across the UK and overseas.
Solomon Nwabueze,
Chief Content Officer, Creative England
As Creative England’s Chief Content Officer, Solomon engages and enables potential creative and commercial partners. Solomon previously ran PaperPlaneMedia, a visual media business helping to evolve strategic commercial relationships with talent, producers and distributors for clients such as Warner Bros, ITV, Sony Pictures and Universal Music International.
Faye Pressly,
COO, Vanti and Chair of the Women in Tech Group
As COO for Vanti, one of the UK’s only Master System Integrators with a Smart Building reference site, Faye is currently working with the best and brightest minds to collaboratively imagine and engineer technology solutions that positively change the way people live, learn and work. As Chair of Birmingham’s ‘Women in Tech’ working group, she is a key advocate for encouraging women and girls to enter careers in Technology.
Alison Grade,
CEO, Producers Forum
Since taking the helm at the Producers’ Forum Alison has been working hard to reposition the organisation into a membership organisation that fully represents the full breadth of screen creatives in the region. As well as heading up the Producers’ Forum Alison runs Mission Accomplished a consultancy offering training, mentoring and strategic advice to start-ups and established SMEs in the Creative Industries. She is also working on her soon-to-be-published book about how to succeed as a freelancer.
Oliver Clarke,
Studio Director, Lockwood
Oliver Clarke is the Studio Director for Lockwood Leamington, a production studio developing content for the hit social mobile title, Avakin Life. A Lockwood Publishing game. Oliver was selected as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2013, and was privileged to serve on the BAFTA Games Jury in the Game Design Category in both 2017 and 2015 and the Young Game Designer Jury in 2015. He is a proud ambassador for Special Effect, the games charity helping people with disabilities to enjoy video games.

17:05    Be More Open:

In conversation with Steven Knight, Creator of Peaky Blinders
Insightful conversation with internationally acclaimed writer and director Steven Knight on the proposed Mercian Film Studios development
Steven Knight,
Writer and Director
Steven Knight is an English screenwriter and film director, and the creator and writer of Peaky Blinders. He wrote and directed the films Locke and Hummingbird. Also, he has written the screenplays for the films Closed Circuit, Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises. Furthermore, he is one of the three creators of the television game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
As well as Peaky Blinders he has written for BBC programmes Commercial Breakdown, The Detectives and Taboo.

17:30    Be More Connected

Join us for food, drinks and networking

18:00    Be More Informed

Michael Gubbins
We hear a few words from Michael Gubbins, Strategic Project Leader, West Midlands Screen Bureau on how the WMSB is helping to support the creative screen sector in the region.