Now is the time: Industry leaders from across our region back Midlands recovery

Date posted: June 22, 2021
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the bullring bull with shoppers all around

“I feel optimistic, there’s so much to be optimistic for in our region,” says Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Derby; sentiments shared by Sonu Bubna, Co-founder of Shopper.com: “There are just phenomenal tech and digital capabilities right here in our region.”

Both are speaking about the economic rejuvenation beginning to take place in our region and both are members of the Midlands Engine Business Council.

Co-chaired by Midlands Engine Champion The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP and Midlands Engine Chairman Sir John Peace, the Business Council is attended by around 30 top leaders from across our region.

With the aim of providing challenge, embedding the voice of industry in strategic planning and acting as a valuable conduit for industry into Government, the Council focuses on harnessing the strengths of the Midlands.

“It’s incredibly important that the Midlands has a unified voice,” says Council member and Managing Director of Alstom UK and Ireland Nick Crossfield. “Those regions that are successful are the ones that achieve this.”

The Midlands Engine Business Council unites to amplify the voice of our region and serve as a catalyst for change.

As part of this work, Sir John Peace and Midlands Engine Executive Director Rachael Greenwood met recently with Business Council members to hear their aspirations for our region.

These leading industry figures included Chief Executive of HSBC, Ian Stuart, founder of Gymshark, Ben Francis and Chief Executive of the NEC Group, Paul Thandi CBE.

One area of our economy that has proved vital as we’ve weathered the pandemic has been our health, MedTech and life sciences sector which supports 1200 life sciences businesses and over 33,000 highly skilled jobs.

With the highest number of MedTech companies of any region in the UK, generating £1.6 billion annually, this sector looks set to further support recovery efforts for the whole economy.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals:

Now more than ever, our partnership across the Midlands Engine really matters, we have so many massive opportunities ahead together. Showcasing key Midlands strengths like Health and life sciences, is just one of these opportunities.

As the home of the Industrial Revolution, it may come as no surprise that our advanced manufacturing sector is a huge strength of our region’s economy.

Accounting for 16% of our region’s gross value added (GVA) compared to just 6% for the rest of the UK, we’re a leader in a sector covering everything from components for the Mars’ Perseverance mission to the advanced ceramics that go into jet engines and fuel cells.

Our strength comes from our world-leading expertise, within our extensive manufacturing workforce of 550,000, a point made by another Business Council Member, Steve Scrimshaw, Vice-President of Siemens Energy:

Some of the best combustion engineers in the world are right here in Lincoln and 95% of our products made here are exported globally.

While the Midlands accounts for 22% of England’s exports there are signs too of significant inward investment flowing into the Midlands, with US Investment bank Goldman Sachs, the BBC and multiple Government departments all announcing moves to our region this year.

Those businesses moving to the Midlands will find a broad and ever-deepening talent pool of over eleven million residents, and a region brimming with opportunity as Chief Executive of Remote, Jeannie McGillivray, elaborates:

Our region offers such a high quality of life & we’re home to so many talented people. I have a really clear sense of the even bigger potential we have ahead.

Find out more about the Midlands Engine Business Council.

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.
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