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23 Midlands businesses are named winners of the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

Now in its 52nd year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise was established in 1965, with winners recognised as being among the best in the country.

This year, a total of 230 businesses from across the UK, including 23 from the Midlands, are recognised for their contribution in four categories; international trade, innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity.

Winners of the award are able to use the prestigious Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years. Amongst the Midlands businesses celebrating are; Brose Ltd from Exhall which is recognised in the International Trade category for its design and manufacture of seating structures and window regulators for the automotive industry, and Cobra Biologics Limited from Newcastle under Lyme for the contract development and manufacture of biologics and pharmaceuticals for clinical trials and commercial supply, as well as TPS Global Limited from Redditch which manufactures and supplies globally thermal protective solutions for temperature sensitive freight.

Winners in the innovation category also included; C & LE Attenborough Ltd from Nottingham which is recognised for its highly innovative digitally validated 3D printed orthopaedic implants, and The Wool Packaging Company Ltd from Stone, recognised for its sustainable innovative insulative packaging for temperature sensitive products. Click here for further information about this year's Queen's Awards.

For a full list of winners, including those from the Midlands, click here.

Midlands businesses are encouraged to enter next year's awards, with the application process opening on 8th May 2018. Businesses can find further information about eligibility and entry details here.

Major online retailer to create huge distribution centre in East Midlands and create 500 jobs

Shop Direct, the online retailer, has announced that it is to open a 500,000 sq ft distribution and returns centre at the East Midlands Gateway site.

The Midlands plays a crucial national role in supporting the movement of freight across the country with 33% of British heavy road freight going to / from or through the Midlands, while 4/5 main UK rail freight routes travel through the Midlands.

Construction is due to start in May with the new site expected to be fully operational by 2021. East Midlands Gateway is located next to East Midlands Airport, which is the UK's largest freight terminal outside of Heathrow, and the announcement of Shop Direct's relocation to the area follows the news from last month that UPS is going to undertake one of its biggest projects globally by building a new distribution centre at East Midlands Airport. Click here to read further information.

Image courtesy of Highways England

Report recommends West Midlands should host national energy innovation pilot zones

A report by the Energy Innovation Commission has put forward a case for the £125 million raised from the energy company obligation (ECO) charge -  a green levy on utility companies – to be given to the West Midlands Combined Authority to invest in research and development of green technology.

The new report, called Powering West Midlands Regional Growth, now calls for the creation of four Energy Innovation Zones as the means of local authorities – specifically the West Midlands Combined Authority – being at the forefront of the clean energy revolution.

The report recommends the zones be established at Tyseley, at the UK Central site in Solihull, south Coventry and the Black Country – with sites at Darlaston, Dudley, Wolverhampton and i54 being considered for the latter. Click here for further information about the report.

Click here to read the full report.

More than one billion tune in to see Birmingham receive Commonwealth Games baton

Birmingham hosted a huge celebration event as it welcomed taking on the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The handover took place at the 2018 Games' closing ceremony on Australia's Gold Coast.

Dressed in multi-coloured outfits, around 2,000 dancers delivered different routines including break-dance, ballet and modern moves.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, said: "We will keep the momentum up for the next four years."

Click here for more information.

Midlands universities awarded big share of national funding for commercialism projects

Research England is investing £67 million in collaborative projects between universities and other partners to drive forward world-class university commercialisation across the country. 

Several universities from the Midlands successfully bid for funding. These are:
  • The University of Birmingham, which will receive nearly £5 million of funding for the Midlands Innovation Alliance, which is collaboration with several Midlands Universities to develop the UK's largest technology transfer collaboration. You can read more about this project by clicking here.
  • The University of Leicester which will receive nearly £4.8 million for technology networks in the space sector.
  • The University of Lincoln which will receive a share of £4.7 million of funding to develop an agri-tech cluster partnership led by the University of Cambridge.
  • De Montfort University and Nottingham Trent University (pictured) which will receive a share of £4.6 million for the university design community which aims to enable the successful development and commercialisation of new products. You can read more about this project here. 
For further information on the universities and projects which will receive funding, click here.

National think-tank says East Midlands has strong international investment offer

That was the message delivered by Centre for Cities at a summit of East Midlands business leaders and organisations held at East Midlands Airport.  

As part of a panel of public and private sector partners who supported the Midlands UK Pavilion at MIPIM 2018, delegates at the EM4 Summit heard that the Midlands economy is in its strongest position to help reshape the new relationship with the EU and wider world, with the East Midlands expected to play a vital role in that.

Click here for further information.

Chinese delegation visits Lincolnshire to discuss inward investment and trade

A delegation of Chinese Embassy and business officials from Hunan in China visited Lincolnshire to discuss inward investment and trade opportunities. 

Hunan already has investment links with Lincolnshire based, Dynex - a leading, independent manufacturer of high power and high reliability electronic components, and following the recent successful trade visit, Lincolnshire officials have a growing confidence that there will be further economic cooperation between the two areas.  
As part of the visit delegates were given a tour of the port at Immingham, which is one of our region's key freight terminals and only sea port.

Click here for further information about the delegates' visit.

Derby signs memorandum of understanding with Kolkata, India

Derby City Council and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce have signed a memorandum of understanding with India's Kolkata Chamber of Commerce.

The aim of the partnership is to promote and foster trade and multilateral relations between the two cities.

Derby has already established a strong link with Hefiei in China, and it is hoped that the link with India will prove as successful.

The Mayor of the City of Derby, Councillor John Whitby, and Councillor Baggy Shanker, Cabinet Member for Finance and Government (pictured above left), who greeted officials from Kolkata, said: "We are committed to exploring the opportunities a partnership brings, opening doors to joint business ventures and inward investment, creating opportunities in education, culture and tourism and also creating lasting friendships." Click here for further information.

Photo courtesy of Derby City Council

Regional Highlights 

Government announces £70 million to transform Alexander Stadium for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
The Prime Minister has announced £70 million of funding towards transforming Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The redevelopment of the stadium will include new community sports facilities, a permanent warm-up track and conference facilities to host business and cultural events once the games are over.

Read more
Greg Clark powers up work to create world's largest indoor engine test bed at Rolls-Royce

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy visited Rolls-Royce's Derby factory to see work start on the new test bed which is expected to be commissioned in 2020.

The test bed will support Rolls-Royce’s ongoing transformation and will provide important additional capacity to deliver on a record order book.

Read more

University of Warwick to join national pilot project to accelerate time innovative ideas take to get to market

The Government has announced an £8 million expansion of the Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research pilot programme which will see the University of Warwick join the project.

The expansion will allow more commercially-promising ideas to get to market more quickly. The programme focuses on training early-career researchers to find the right route to commercialisation and to help them develop the necessary business skills, connections and expertise.

The programme aligns with the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which emphasises the importance of research, innovation and skills to develop a stronger economy and ensure Britain leads the high-tech, highly-skilled industries of the future.

Read more

Inflation falls to its lowest rate in a year (ONS), as IMF forecasts strongest year for global growth in seven years

The UK consumer price index fell in March to 2.5%, the lowest rate in a year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It fell from 2.7% in February. Despite the fall, economists are predicting the Bank of England will raise interest rates in May. Read more on the ONS inflation rate.

Meanwhile the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast that 2018 will be the strongest year for global growth since 2011.

In its new assessment of the World Economic Outlook, the IMF predicts growth this year and in 2019 of 3.9%.

Read more on the IMF global forecast.

Nottingham to lead Midlands initiative for clean growth

A £1.14 million grant programme to help develop low carbon local energy schemes across the Midlands will be managed by Nottingham City Council, supported by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The grant will be used to establish a ‘Midlands Energy Hub’, serving the region’s nine Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and their member local authorities. The programme is part of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, and will allow identification and development of local energy projects.

Read more

In other news...

  • World-leading tableware manufacturer acquires new Staffordshire distribution centre.  Read more
  • Nottingham jointly wins right to host global UNESCO gatheringRead more
  • Increase in passenger figures at East Midlands AirportRead more
  • Midlands Engine Investment Fund energises Dudley business energy systems firm. Read more
  • Midlands ahead of London and the North in UK innovation findings. Read report
  • Leading vitamins and supplements manufacturer joins growing list of businesses receiving Midlands Engine Investment Fund. Read more
  • Number of tech start-ups in East Midlands rise 50%. Read more
  • University of Lincoln to launch project to equip workers with digital skills to increase growth. Read more

Upcoming events...

Visit the Midlands Engine website for a full events listing for April onwards, where you can also register an event to be included in the list. Click here