Ever since we were a few people in a coffee shop talking about bringing TEDxBrum to the city, we have regularly talked about what defines an entrepreneurial, innovative city that is democratic, fair, just and where citizens drive it forward. Over the years we have debated this often, building, testing and growing many different versions of TEDxBrum and now Impact Hub Birmingham.
Another example of a platform that serves a similar purpose – and one of biggest inspirations for me is Bristol’s ‘Festival of Ideas’. It's certainly leading the way in the UK in how to create ideas platforms that bring many people together. Every year the Bristol Festival of Ideas opens with the annual 'state of the city' by Bristol’s mayor. This has always been interesting to me. What it says to me, is, we the politicians take this platform seriously, we take these ideas seriously, our citizens seriously and ultimately you can hold us to account, because we are here, in front of you.
So, it's exciting progress for us, from a few citizens in a coffee shop six years ago, to announce that the first ever Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street will welcome everyone to the biggest ever TEDxBrum at Birmingham Hippodrome this year. It is no exaggeration that without the help of our sponsors TEDxBrum literally couldn’t happen. They don’t make it a little better, they help fund the whole thing. So thank you to the West Midlands Combined Authority for being key partners and sponsors. This is certainly a nod of appreciation to the platform that the citizens of Birmingham have grown, as volunteers for more than six years.
Let's keep building the spaces where citizens, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, makers, businesses, politicians and many more come together to build the future, with a deep respect for each other's roles in a no doubt extremely complex but exciting future for this amazing city.