Birmingham is our home and we are proud of our reputation and history. You may not realise it, but it is a city full of talented entrepreneurs who have set up businesses and turned them into successful brands.
According to the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE), last year Birmingham topped the list for the highest number of start-ups outside of London for the fifth year in a row, with Brummies starting over 12,000 new businesses.
Here are 6 big brands that you may not know were started in Birmingham.
One of the fastest growing and most recognisable fitness apparel brands was started here in Birmingham in 2012 by Ben Francis, who, at the time, was only 19 years old. Ben started Gymshark by making gym clothes in his parent’s garage in Birmingham whilst working part time as a pizza delivery driver, as well as studying at University. Last year the company was valued between £300m and £400m with their 42,000 sq ft headquarters based in Solihull.
Grenade, a sports nutrition brand, was founded in 2009 by husband and wife Alan and Juliet after spending four years testing recipes in their kitchen. The company has now become one of the UK’s fastest growing companies and were awarded Protein Bar of the Year in 2019. The Grenade headquarters is currently based in Solihull where they employ over 50 members of staff and retail in more than 80 countries around the world.
Founded by John Sumner in the 1990’s, Typhoo Tea was first sold in John’s Birmingham based shop after his sister, Mary, told him about the benefits that tea can offer. Originally called Typhoo Tipps, they were the first tea brand to sell pre-packaged tea rather than loose leaf and were also the first tea brand to introduce green tea to the UK market. They are now one of the biggest brands of tea on the market.
The heritage of Birds Custard dates back to 1837 when Alfred Bird first invented the famous Birds Custard at his chemist in Birmingham. Originally, the recipe was meant for his wife who was allergic to eggs, but after such positive feedback Alfred decided to release the custard into wider production. The former factory used to produce Birds Custard from 1906 has since been converted into creative hub filled with restaurants, shops and bars - the aptly named Custard Factory.
The Lloyds Banking Group was founded in Dale End in 1765 by John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd. The Bank actually operated from one office in the City for the first 100 years they were open before their rapid growth excelled them to their current position today as one of the ‘Big Four’ British banks.
Back in 1831 John Cadbury opened the first Cadbury manufacturing warehouse in Birmingham. By 1905 the first Dairy Milk chocolate bar was launched and by 1921 the first iconic script Cadbury logo was released. Cadbury World, a tourist attraction that welcomed around 350,000 visitors in its first year, was opened in Bourneville in 1990 and today Cadbury is one of Britain’s favourite confectionary brand with an estimated 21 million people in Britain consuming a Dairy Milk in 2018.
Feel inspired to start your own business? Why not jump start your idea by studying in one of the world’s most famous industrial cities with a Business degree from Birmingham City University!