City Spotlight: Birmingham

As a proud Brummie (that’s a resident of Birmingham to our international visitors) and with it being the home to City Numbers HQ, I thought it was only right to kick-off our series of UK city spotlights with Birmingham.

    • The UK’s second biggest city in terms of population, it’s also a thriving business hub, vital to the British economy, and in the next few years is only set to become even more important. So with that in mind, here are a few points you need to know about business in Birmingham…
    • Outside of London, Birmingham had the biggest number of start-up businesses in the UK in 2014 with 18,337 being established in the city according to Start Up Britain.
    • The technology explosion of the last few years has seen the sector expand in most major cities and Birmingham is no exception. It’s estimated by Visit Birmingham that the Greater Birmingham area now employs nearly 40,000 people in 6,000 technology focused businesses.
    • One of Birmingham’s biggest industries is its bling! The Jewellery Quarter produces 40% of the UK’s jewellery and is one of the largest jewellery producing areas on the European continent. It’s been this way for hundreds of year now. [1]
    • Some of Britain’s most famous brands and businesses either originated or have their headquarters here, including Cadbury, Lloyds bank, Jaguar Land Rover and Odeon cinemas.


  • Virgin Media recently announced it will create 6,000 jobs as part of its investment in its broadband infrastructure. Nearly a quarter of these jobs will be based here (1400).
  • As its increasing importance as a bustling cultural and economic hub is recognised, the number of transport links that are being implemented to better connect Birmingham to both the North and South of the country increases. Despite the very mixed public reaction to HS2 (high-speed rail link), if it goes ahead as planned in 2017, it will mean people can travel between London and Birmingham in a record 49 minutes; a journey that currently takes on average around an hour and a half. HS2 Ltd’s headquarters are also based in the city.
  • Routes to and from the city’s major airport, Birmingham Airport, are set to increase throughout 2015. Having recently announced that January was its busiest January in history (nearly 600,000 passengers passing through), American Airlines will now fly direct daily between New York’s JFK and Birmingham. Emirates is also starting a third daily flight to Dubai. These routes to major global destinations complement existing ones to European business hubs such as Frankfurt, Zurich and Paris.
  • It was recently named one of the most sustainable cities in the world according to The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, ahead of places such as Tokyo. The index, which measures the social, environmental and economic aspects of cities, put Birmingham at 18, slightly behind Manchester (14) and London (2). 18 must be Birmingham’s lucky number as this was also its position in a 2014 list of business travel destinations compiled by Egencia.
  • The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is one of Britain’s busiest business conference centres, hosting more than 200,000 conferences every year.[2]

Did you know?

  • Some famous musical acts from the region include Black Sabbath, Duran Duran and UB40.
  • The city’s canal network has 56 kilometres of waterways; more than Venice. [3]
  • It’s the youngest city in Europe with 40% of the population under 25. [4]
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (1937 – 1940) was born in Birmingham and it was where legendary author J.R.R. Tolkein spent most of his early years. Certain areas are said to have inspired his books.
  • There are over 30 other Birmingham’s around the world in places such as America, Australia and Ireland. But there’s only one original!

If your business isn’t based in Birmingham, but you’d like a virtual presence there today by acquiring a local 0121 number, then let us know – we’re here to help.

[1] Birmingham City Council,
[2] Birmingham Post,
[3] Visit Birmingham,
[4] Birmingham Toolkit,

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