The focus of the economy branch of our Go Local campaign is the Birmingham Pound. By setting up a local currency we want to improve, encourage and support Birmingham’s economy. After having spent quite a while on discovering ways to set up a local currency and making a lot of connections in the city, we are now starting to forge our way towards a pilot phase. The technical side of our Birmingham Pound is mostly agreed on and will ironically be hosted in Bristol, thanks to the Bristol Pound team. We will use their Cyclos system to manage the different accounts.

We have also just done a small skills audit to see what capacity we have and where we need to bring in more expertise. We are lucky to have a very wide team of experts who can advise us. We also have most of the essential expertise covered within the team to start the currency. We do need more volunteers to speak to individuals and businesses once pledging for the Birmingham Pound starts.

So what would a pilot look like?

The current ideas are that we will start with an electronic version of the Birmingham Pound using the Cyclos system from Bristol Pound. We have not yet decided on the areas where we would start our pilot, as Birmingham is so diverse and we want to be sure to be as inclusive as possible, but we also want to make sure we are picked up as an exciting new phenomenon. This is the real balancing act between early uptakers and representational Birmingham’s diversity.

We will start a marketing campaign to get businesses and individuals to pledge to use the Birmingham Pound. By having individuals pledge to use it, it will be easier to convince businesses to accept and use the local pound and vice versa.

You might see us around this autumn and/or winter at festivals and markets. So keep your eyes peeled and tell your friends what we are about!