(part two) Author: Heather Law

Three potential contributing solutions were pinpointed for Birmingham and these include:

1. Ensuring the next European Regional Development Fund’s call for proposals priority strand one, focusing on research, development and innovation includes provision for collaborative maker space activity and specifically, a mention of fab labs with the aim of supporting open access. This will allow the funding of CMS focussed projects.

2. Once CMS is in the call for proposals, we hope that two types of projects will come forward to support:

a) Innovation inactive SMEs, helping them access Birmingham’s maker spaces

b) Long term collaboration between maker spaces and the business support ecosystem.

This opportunity to pause and analyse how best to approach the challenge we had set ourselves, not least, the inclusion of a practical issues session (testing phase) where we mapped out the timeline with relevant stakeholders, has been particularly useful. We now need to make it happen. We have a local stakeholder group next week with representation from local universities, the GBSLEP, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, the Innovation Alliance and maker-space representation. This offers a further chance to discuss the action plan as well as identify potential collaboration in projects. The next call for proposals for the ERDF programme is any time now and project proposals will come soon after; a time of great expectations and hopefully some good results!

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