Midlands a big hit at MIPIM 2017

3,000 international delegates visited the Midlands Pavilion at global real estate show MIPIM 2017 in Cannes from 14-17 March.

This was the first time Midlands cities have exhibited together and the pavilion had the busiest calendar of any UK destination, hosting over 50 events, including panel debates and presentations showcasing opportunities to invest in the region. 

More than 40 private sector organisations, from property agents to developers, consultancies and architects, joined with the public sector to promote the Midlands to the world. 


The preview event for the Midlands Engine Investment Portfolio, which highlights 19 of the region’s most exciting investment-ready projects worth a combined £7 billion, was a major draw. Key sites include the large-scale enhancements of thriving city centres in Derby, Birmingham and Nottingham, expansion of the National Space Park in Leicester and the first purpose-built business district in Coventry. 

A panel discussion featured Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine, and Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, who described the Portfolio’s launch at MIPIM as “a huge government effort promoting the Midlands.

At the end of a very successful event Sir John Peace said, “With more than 50 public and private sector partners joining forces for the first time, the Midlands has made a huge impact on the global investors attending MIPIM. Our programme of highly successful events and productive meetings, presenting the wide range of investment opportunities available in the region, has shown the world that there has never been a better time to invest in the Midlands.”
View a brief film of Midlands at MIPIM here .
LINK to Investment Portfolio 


City announces 2022 Commonwealth Games bid

A Birmingham bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 has been endorsed by the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company – with the UK Government also confirming it is ready to work with cities interested in hosting the Games.

At a meeting on Friday (April 21), the Birmingham bid company reviewed a feasibility study produced by consultants Origin and decided it would be in the best interests of Birmingham and the wider region to put forward a proposal to stage the event, last staged in England in 2002.

The city had initially been preparing a study for the 2026 Games, but the plans were brought forward following the news Durban would no longer be staging the 2022 Games as planned in South Africa.
Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said in September last year, when the city expressed its intention to bid:

“We’re calling on the entire region to get behind this bid. The economic benefit, not to mention the excitement and legacy of such an immense sporting event would have on this area, is massive. We are the perfect choice to host the Commonwealth Games.”

As well as being hugely prestigious and showcasing sporting talent from across the globe, the Games have a tangible economic benefit. The Glasgow Games in 2014 generated nearly £740 million worth of GVA for Scotland, and attracted 690,000 additional visitors.  

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Midlands Engine response to HM Government's 'Building our Industrial Strategy' Green Paper

The Midlands Engine welcomed consultation on a national Industrial Strategy which will build on the UK’s economic strengths whilst tackling underlying weaknesses to secure our future as a competitive, global nation.

We can be a key partner of government as it seeks to drive growth across the whole country, upgrade infrastructure for a 21st century economy, cultivate world-leading sectors and promote international trade and inward investment.

The Industrial Strategy will become a central feature of the partnership between government and the Midlands Engine and a key driver of improved performance and increasing economic growth across the region.

The Midlands Engine offers the government our unqualified backing in the belief that working together, with the appropriate level of support, and investment where possible, we can prove the point that when the Midlands succeeds, Britain succeeds.
The government’s consultation closed on April 17th. The Midlands Engine response can be downloaded here.

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The Midlands at the heart of Britain's offer to Qatar

On March 28th Birmingham hosted the second day of the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum, welcoming the largest ever Qatari business delegation to the UK, as part of the Government’s drive to create a truly global Britain.
Opening the event Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I’m delighted the Forum is meeting in Birmingham and giving us the opportunity to promote current investment and trade opportunities. I see it as a strong signal of confidence from Qatari investors in the city and the wider region." Later UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Qatar Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani spoke to over 500 delegates at the ICC.
Links between Qatar and the Midlands are already strong with the Qatari Al Rayan Bank having a presence in the region and Qatar Airways flying directly from its Doha hub to Birmingham Airport. Over the last year, the Midlands has exported goods worth £144.3 million to Qatar.
The Qatari visitors were also shown some of the Midlands’ prime investment-ready projects.

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Nottingham's new bio-science centre is out of this world

A new £30m bio-sciences building has opened in Nottingham, featuring an innovative sunscreen sculpture which at night lights up in time with live activity on the surface of the sun.

The BioCity Discovery building will support more than 700 new bio-science jobs cementing Nottingham’s position as home to the UK’s fastest growing life-science community.

Over half the lab and office space has been taken up by Sygnature Discovery (winners this month of a Queen's award for Enterprise), expanding from existing space at BioCity Nottingham. Construction was made possible by £24m from Nottingham City Council and £6 million from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The immediately-iconic sculpture, called Corona, is by Nottingham-based international artist Wolfgang Buttress and uses research conducted by Dr Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University.


Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP appoints first Non-Executive Director for Young People

Sophie Drake has joined the board of GBSLEP, in a move designed to drive engagement with, and to inspire, the region’s burgeoning 18-30-year-old population.
Sophie will join 19 other Non-Executive Directors from across the private, public and educational sectors and will be responsible for supporting a group of young representatives to sit on the LEP’s sub-boards for businesses and people and place, working with them to forge links between the organisation, its partners and the region’s young people.


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Midlands economic growth among fastest

The East Midlands has the fastest-growing economy outside London and the South East, according to PwC’s latest UK Economic Outlook. PwC’s forecast projects GVA growth in the East Midlands will increase by around 1.6% in 2017. At 1.4% the West Midlands is not far behind.

PwC points to the Midlands Engine Strategy as government commitment to the region, which will help build on the region’s economic and industrial strengths. Its analysis is that with its nationally and internationally leading industries, the Midlands is well placed to tackle the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities ahead.

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Commission launched to help raise region's economic performance

An independent commission that will harness the expertise of prominent business people, technical specialists and academics to help the West Midlands Combined Authority boost the region’s productivity and skill levels was launched at the start of April.

Chaired by Dr Andy Palmer, President and Chief Executive of Aston Martin Lagonda, the Productivity and Skills Commission will provide impartial support and advice to the authority as it seeks to reduce unemployment, improve people’s job skills and drive up productivity.

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Midlands home to - and key beneficiary of - electric taxis

A new £325m electric black cab factory has been opened in Coventry, creating 1,000 jobs. The London Taxi Company plant will have the capacity to assemble over 20,000 vehicles a year.

The Ansty Park plant, owned by Geely, will develop a new zero emissions taxi and other hybrid technology vehicles. This investment is supported by a grant of £16m from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the Regional Growth Fund.

The Department for Transport has announced investment to promote the use of electric taxis. A £50m Plug-in Taxi Grant will encourage drivers to switch to electric cabs, and £14m for new charge-points for electric taxis, over half of which will be spent in the Midlands.

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Aston Martin puts suppliers on alert as it embarks on £500m investment

Automotive supply firms in the Midlands have been put on alert as a major manufacturer prepares to step up production.

The Warwickshire-based sports and luxury car manufacturer is embarking on the largest growth phase in its history - including the opening of a new factory in Wales.

At a Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce organised manufacturing networking event at Gaydon, firms from across the Midlands were told the expansion is likely to mean new supply orders.



Six Short Stories

The doors are opening at the National College for High Speed Rail
The National College for High Speed Rail launched its #doorsareopening campaign in March to attract prospective learners to its new state-of-the-art campus which opens in Birmingham in September this year with a small intake of apprentices. Courses will begin for the college's first full intake of 1300 learners across both sites - the second is in Doncaster - in September 2018.
Qualifications on offer include a new Level 4 High Speed Rail and Infrastructure Higher Technician Apprenticeship which has been designed with input by 30 businesses. The apprenticeship combines on-the-job training, with studying, towards the equivalent of a foundation degree. The college is already accepting applications.

Find out more here

Birmingham has the highest Quality of Life

Birmingham has been ranked as having the highest quality of life of any English city outside of London, by the global Mercer Quality of Living Report 2017. The city is placed ahead of international hotspots such as Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Miami and Dubai.

Find out more here

Warwick Catapult open for business with £1 million investment in cutting-edge lab capacity to support UK drug discovery research

World-class technology and expertise are now available to UK drug discovery companies as a result of new laboratory facilities developed by the Medicines Discovery Catapult launched in March at the University of Warwick.

Find out more here

Sunday Times BDO profit Track 100 league table
Three Worcestershire businesses have been recognised as some of the fastest growing businesses in the UK by the Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 league table for 2017. Worcester-based Gtech ranked 11 and Lioncourt Homes ranked 16 on the prestigious list, while Kidderminster-based Brintons was placed 67.

The full league table can be viewed on the Fast Track website

Charnwood Campus becomes UK's first 'Life Sciences' Zone
Charnwood Campus (the former Astra Zeneca site) near Loughborough has been designated the UK’s first ‘Life Sciences Opportunities Zone’ (LSOZ) by the Government. The growing Midlands life sciences cluster in the Midlands can play a large part in the future regional industrial strategy 

Find out more

BHX Right on Time

Birmingham Airport has been named the world’s most punctual airport in 2016 by air travel intelligence company OAG, with 91.28% of arriving and departing flights operating on time.

With over 100,000 scheduled flights from Birmingham Airport last year, the most punctual route, at 95%, was to Dublin. BHX beat 5000 airports worldwide to claim the global crown.

Chief Executive, Paul Kehoe said, “To be crowned the world’s most punctual airport in 2016 is a tremendous prize, particularly in the busiest twelve months in our 77 year history.”


Upcoming Events

25-27 April       Ceramics Expo, Cleveland, Ohio

4 May               West Midlands Mayoral election

8 May               Trade Mission to Tokyo, Japan

8-10 May          Bio Trinity, Birmingham

10 May             Insider Midlands Engine Breakfast Event, Birmingham

9-11 May          Railtex, Rail Midlands Challenge Fund Activity, NEC
22 May             Chengdu delegation visit, Nottingham

5-6 June          West Midlands Combined Authority Growth Forum
6 June             Gulf States visit to Stoke

8 June             General Election

15 June           Medilink event, Nottingham
15 June           HS2 Conference, Birmingham
19 June           BioInternational San Francisco

22-26 Aug        GamesCon, Cologne