How I started a business in... Birmingham

 

Our start-ups are based all over England - and we're incredibly proud of this. We believe that England is full of amazing places to start a business, meaning that you don't need to up sticks and relocate yourself to follow your dream (unless you want to). Every place has its own unique benefits. Today we catch up with Tobias Ellinas, who we heaped to start his business Protein Pouch in Birmingham.  Protein Pouch sell innovative cooked and flash-frozen chicken and ready-made vegetable dishes that make it easier to live a healthier lifestyle on the go easier.

 

Who did you  speak to in Birmingham for advice,  and how did they help you?

I founded the company with my two partners, and we felt our knowledge was extensive enough for the set-up. For rules and regulations I used government websites to make sure when setting up the business it was adhering to all legalities. I approached Virgin StartUp and attended the first meeting in Birmingham - this was the only time I received advice or direction from anyone. Since then the assigned mentor has shone light on crucial areas within the business, areas we had overlooked ourselves.

Did you go to any networking events in Birmingham– what were they, and were they any good?

There weren't any that were really relevant to what our business did at the time.

Why is Birmingham a good place to do business?

I feel Birmingham is a very good place for business for the following reasons:

  • It's central within England, which can work in your favor if your business involves distribution throughout the country, weather it be B to B or B to C.
  • Heavy investments into the city, such as the new train station, and the development of a new tram system, new builds and city improvements. The improvements to Birmingham's infrastructure will boost the productivity of the city city and make it even better for businesses.

Where in Birmingham is your business and why did you base it there?

We're based literally 20 minutes from the centre - we sit right by the M6 motorway, which is very handy for any deliveries. We chose to base it there as my co-founder already has premises there, which made things cost-effective for the company.

 

What advice would you give to other people looking to start a business in Birmingham?

Do your research; if you're unsure, there is help out there. I have learnt the hard way that you may think you are 100% sure but that does not mean you ARE! The Virgin Startup scheme offers professional help, and the mentors offer you their valuable experience in business - so use them!

Is it expensive to start a business in Birmingham?

Obviously every business start-up can range in price. As I'm a big believer in image, personally I believe that to execute the startup RIGHT it is expensive, but obviously costs are lower than in a city such as London.

What types of businesses do well in Birmingham?

I have noticed a lot more cafes and quirky meeting places popping up, and they are always full. People dont just enjoy the products you offer, they enjoy the experience with it. This is definitely something that's trending.

To find out more about Protein Pouch check out their website, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.