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Sajid Javid MP unveils £100m Midlands SME equity fund as Barclays launches a £370m regional business growth fund

Businesses across the Midlands now have access to millions of pounds worth of finances to help them grow, thanks to two funds which have been launched this week.

The first is a £100m fund which will be available to small businesses from across the Midlands as part of the £250million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which was recently launched by the British Business Bank (BBB).

The second, is a new £370m Midlands Growth Fund launched by Barclays Bank which will be available to businesses in the region.   

Speaking about the double funding boost announcements, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, who is the Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion, said: “The Midlands Engine already boasts over 14 per cent of the UK’s high-growth businesses and its economy is worth more than £230 billion – larger than countries like Denmark.

"We want to harness its huge potential and help give small firms across the Midlands that much needed boost to grow their business."

Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, added: "The Midlands is well placed to deliver UK productivity and economic growth.

"Improving our productivity to the national average would add £54bn to our economy.

“The Midlands Engine is all about unlocking the significant potential that exists in our region. This new commitment from Barclays will help even more Midlands businesses to grow, and I look forward to talking to many more financial services firms on how we can work together to boost jobs and economic development.”

Jes Staley, Barclays CEO, said: “As a bank with Midlands roots stretching back over two centuries, Barclays is wholeheartedly committed to the success of this region.

“That is why I’m so proud to announce our new Midlands Growth Fund, to help businesses across the East and West Midlands invest in jobs and growth."

To read more about the Barclays' funding announcement, click here.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund and the network of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are now hosting events across the Midlands to provide intermediary advisers with the opportunity to learn more about the MEIF £100m SME funding available and how to apply. Click here for details of the events and to secure a place.

Click here for further details of the launch of the MEIF SME equity funding

Billions of pounds of Midlands investment opportunities to be unveiled at MIPIM 2018

The Midlands area will come together to showcase investment opportunities from across the region worth almost £10 billion at this year’s global property and real estate show, MIPIM.

More than 70 public and private sector partners, 10 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, and the Department for International Trade (DIT) will represent the region – the largest delegation Midlands UK has ever taken to the annual event which takes place this year between 13 th _ 16 th March, in Cannes, France.

Sir John Peace, pictured above, said: “The Midlands UK delegation will show the world that the region is open for business. We are confident about the future and are ready to build on the Midlands commercial and trading history.

“By working together, Midlands UK will promote the region to investors and trade partners – delivering more growth, exports, jobs, and a better quality of life for those living in the region.”

The Midlands UK delegation will tweet major announcements, event images and interviews from its Twitter account @UKMidlands using the hashtags #MidlandsUK, #MIPIM and #MIPIM2018. Please retweet to magnify the Midlands' presence at the world's largest property and real estate show.

Click here for further information about the Midlands UK MIPIM events programme. 

Midlands cities score highly on UK economic health index

Lambert Smith Hampton has unveiled its 2018 Vitality Index, which is their fifth annual assessment of the health of the UK’s 66 largest towns and cities outside London.

The index assesses which towns and cities are best positioned for growth and provide the greatest opportunities for business expansion. The results are based on the analysis of 20 datasets, with each location ranked within six separate sub-indices; most productive, fastest growing, most entrepreneurial, best educated, greenest and rising affluence.

Leicester and Nottingham (pictured) were named the biggest rising cities in the report, while in the sub-indices Warwick was named in the top three most entrepreneurial cities and in the top two cities for having the most highly educated citizens. Solihull was named in the top six for growing affluence and Nottingham was revealed as the UK's 7th fastest growing city, while Leicester is the 8th greenest city. 

To download the LSH Vitality Index click here.

Productivity growth strongest since financial crash

The UK has seen the strongest two quarters of productivity growth since the recession of 2008, according to the latest data.

Output per hour rose 0.8% in the three months to December 2017, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. It follows growth of 0.9% in the previous period. Click here for further analysis of the productivity growth statistics.

The ONS also revealed that the UK economy expanded by a better-than-expected 0.5% in the last three months of 2017. Click here for further coverage of the economy growth statistics.

Click here to see the full ONS report.

New report highlights East Midlands commercial property market is performing strongly

An annual report of the performance of the East Midlands commercial property sector by Innes England has reflected the trend of investor movement from London and the south east to the regions.

The report, unveiled at a series of events in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, shows that:
  • Prime industrial rents in Derby rose to a record high - a 26.3% growth over the last five years.
  • In Derby £153m worth of investment transactions were completed in 2017.
  • Rental increases were recorded across office, industrial and retail sectors in Nottingham, while take-up in the industrial sector alone rose 24% year-on-year.
  • In Leicestershire £256m worth of investment transactions were completed in the county, while Leicester cemented its position as a strategic distribution hub within the Midlands as rental values rose.
Speaking about the reports findings, Nick Hosking, director at Innes England, said: "Given the strength of Derby's manufacturing base we expect to see the industrial sector perform well again this year."

While Craig Straw added: "In 2017 Nottingham benefited from a boost across all sectors. Investment levels have reached the highest point recorded over the last decade."

Of Leicester's performance, Peter Doleman, stated: "Leicester has consolidated its position as an important part of the region's distribution hub after a lift in take-up during quarter four. Industrial and retail growth is forecast as a positive this year."

Click here to download the full Market Insite Report. 

Photo credit: Cactus Images

New Midlands trade and investment mission to China planned

As part of a five year strategic plan between Nottingham and its sister city of Ningbo in China, Nottingham City Council will be leading a Midlands business delegation to visit the city between 11 - 17 April. As part of the trip, Midlands businesses will be displaying products, services and technologies at the Ningbo Cultural Industries Fair.

The fair, which will take place over eight exhibition halls, attracts around 116,000 visitors over four days, including approximately 30,000 business visitors. In 2016 approximately 7bn RMB of trade deals were conducted and the organisers are looking to build on this success at this year's event.

To download  further information about the trip, click here.

Award-winning Staffordshire business park is preparing for major expansion

A planning application for a western extension to i54 South Staffordshire is set to be submitted in spring 2018.

The park’s development and investment success is as a result of a partnership between the City of Wolverhampton Council, Staffordshire County Council and South Staffordshire District Council.

There is potential to extend over 100 acres – attracting a further £600 million of private investment and delivering up to 2,700 more jobs.

More than £1 billion has so far been invested in i54, with 2,500 people employed by multi-national companies including; JLR, Moog, ISP, Eurofins, ERA and Tentec. 

Click here for further details.

Calls for more regional influence over the next East Midlands rail franchise award

Midlands Connect has responded to the Department for Transport’s announcement of the shortlist for the East Midlands rail franchise, by calling for greater regional influence over the next franchise award.

Midlands Connect Director Maria Machancoses said: " It is important that the Department for Transport (DfT) and shortlisted companies work closely with us to identify the priorities we feel can deliver a step change improvement that meets growing demand for passenger and rail services.

“We welcome the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s commitment to extra seats and reduced journey times on the Midland Main Line, and we will be meeting with him in the coming weeks to discuss the next steps in the franchise process. "

Click here for Midland Connect's full response to the DfT announcement.

Regional Highlights 

University of Birmingham launches India Institute

The aim of the institute is to bring Birmingham and India closer together to deliver impactful research, create innovative education initiatives and extend the university's influence across the globe.

Read more
National Export Award for Tamworth based test equipment manufacturer

After winning the Made in the Midlands Export Award and Midlands Region Export Award from the EEF in 2017, Ascott Analytical Equipment Limited, has pipped other regional winners to the 2018 National Award for Export from the EEF - The Manufacturers' Organisation.

The Award was presented to Adrian Wain, Managing Director of Ascott Analytical by the Department for International Trade at the EEF National Gala. 

Read more

Birmingham to host major transatlantic conference

The British American Business Council (BABC) annual conference takes place from 6 - 8 June and will attract delegates from all over Britain and North America.

The decision to host the conference in Birmingham follows the success of the city's high-profile presence at the conference in Chicago last year, when the Midlands Chapter of the BABC received wide praise for sending the biggest delegation from a single city, as well as demonstrating the significant level of interest in transatlantic trade that exists in the Midlands.

Read more
The first of Greater Lincolnshire's three Food Enterprise Zones launches

Representatives from more than 20 organisations and businesses from across the county have helped to launch the Peppermint Park Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ).

The FEZ, which will be located next to the A17 and A151, is designed to support agrifood businesses, with a particular focus on the food technology sector. When complete, phase one of the multi-million pound development will create around 16,000 sq m of new business space, capable of supporting over 400 jobs.

Read more
Birmingham heads list for highest number of start-ups outside London

For the fifth year in a row, Birmingham has topped the list for the highest number of new start-ups outside London.

A staggering 12,108 businesses were set-up in Birmingham last year, which was almost 4,000 more than next-placed Manchester.

Read more

In other news...

  • UK economy to leverage global boom for rebound. Read more
  • New report highlights UK businesses experiencing strong order books, driving an increase in UK GDP growthRead more
  • Work set to start to transform Derby's Silk Mill museum into world-class attraction. Read more
  • Overseas tech start-ups competing in Midlands Tech Challenge to win a trip to visit region's thriving tech industries. Read more
  • Nottingham is to receive a share of £30m to transform healthcare using the science of data. Read more
  • West Midlands Railway backs Government engineering drive. Read more
  • New investor for £120m growth deal project, Worcester Six. Read more
  • Keele University attracts Government funding for new university-business collaboration facilities. Read more

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