Led by Midlands Engine, over the last three days the Midlands UK Forum For Growth has gathered investors from across the world and showcased £17.6 billion worth of investment opportunities across housing, connectivity, regeneration, technology and green energy within the Midlands.
The Midlands’ Visitor Economy – a significant driver of regional economic prosperity that clearly faced a challenging 2020 due to the pandemic – was a strong topic of discussion during day 3 of the Forum.
Speaking on a panel focused on how this key sector and recover from its present difficulties, Andrew Lovett, Chief Executive at the Black Country Museum, said:
We were successful before this, and we shouldn’t think that we won’t be successful again. All of things that make a museum successful for example haven’t gone away.
A successful Visitor Economy recovery will be boosted by coming attractions to the region, such as the Coventry UK City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games due to be held in Birmingham the following year, both of which held presentations for the almost 600 attending delegates.
Those delegates were also able to view several destination partner presentations including from Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire, Dudley and Lincolnshire, each focusing on projects seeking investment.
With ‘Future’ as the day’s key theme, several panels tackled the question of key priorities such as zero-carbon, building better communities, future leaders and women in leadership, all sparking insightful contributions from their speakers.
Speaking to her experience on the Women in Leadership panel, Jigna Varu, Chief Executive of Home Fresh said:
In business, you win or learn and either way it makes you better.
Elsewhere at the Forum, Sir John Peace interviewed Ian Stuart, Chief Executive of HSBC UK, on the ramifications of yesterday’s Government Spending Review and where the future might lead, with Stuart commenting:
I see the climate piece being huge on everyone’s attention. I see the enhancement of digital technology pushing us forward as well.
Every economy really needs a strong recovery plan and recovery means job so there’s a real challenge to create jobs because jobs create prosperity so I really hope we can push that forward over the next two years.
With foreign direct investment key to a strong recovery, Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Exports, was keen to emphasise the Government’s support during his presentation on behalf of the Department for International Trade:
This Government is determined to support international investors so they can access the superb opportunities that we have in this country. We are committed to securing and strengthening our status as one of Europe’s leading destinations for foreign direct investment.
Spread across three days and £17.6 billion worth of investment opportunities, with over 21 hours’ worth of presentations and contributions from more than 100 speakers, in wrapping up the conference Sir John Peace said:
This event is only the start so let me say once more as we close the Midlands UK Forum For Growth and look forward, £17 billion worth of tangible investment opportunities. The Midlands really does have the potential for huge growth. The future really is – ours to make.
As with all the content from the Forum for Growth, the entire conference will be made available on-demand after the event via the Midlands UK Forum for Growth website.
In the coming days Midlands Engine will be transferring all of the Forum for Growth content to another platform, enabling it to be shared wider.