The Midlander 19 - January 2019

The newsletter of the Midlands Engine

MEIF helping to drive the Midlands Engine after £25 million milestone

The £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) has reached its first milestone after supporting investment of £25 million in the region’s businesses.

Fully launched in late February last year, the fund seeks to address regional imbalances in finance available to Midlands' businesses. Research from the British Business Bank in its Small Business Finance Market Report found that only 4% of equity finance deals completed in 2017 were in Midlands' firms – demonstrating a need to make finance markets work better for SMEs across the MEIF region.

The £25 million invested so far, which includes £10 million of private sector funds alongside finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, has supported over 100 businesses, ranging from early stage technology start-ups to established manufacturing firms. Find out more

Open letter urging party leaders to commit to completion of HS2 Phase Two

The Midlands and the North have come together in landmark open letter urging party leaders to publicly commit to completion of HS2 Phase Two in its entirety.

Midlands Connect, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Core Cities UK joined the Midlands Engine in urging Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Vince Cable and Nicola Sturgeon to offer their unwavering support to the project, explaining it is the only way to ensure the country benefits fully from a once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive regional economic growth and rebalance the economy.

The letter has been signed by more than 40 business and civic leaders, including: Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, the Managing Directors of East Midlands Airport and Birmingham Airport, as well as top executives from Boots, HSBC, PwC and Mace. Find out more

The Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street, and the Chair of the region’s HS2 Growth Delivery Board, Steve Hollis, have welcomed the appointment of Allan Cook CBE as Chair of HS2 Ltd. Find out more

(l-r) Karen Smart Managing Director of East Midlands Airport, Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Midlands Engine Chairman Sir John Peace

Midlands Engine welcomes East Midlands Manufacturing Zone announcement

The Midlands Engine has welcomed the announcement of the locations of the UK’s first Manufacturing Zones across Melton Mowbray, Leicester, Greater Lincolnshire and Northern Derbyshire.

Four projects involved in the space industry, food sector, and the development of HS2, will together benefit from a total of £500,000 funding to develop their plans.

The announcement came from Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP. The Secretary of State, who is also the Government’s Midlands Engine Champion, visited organisations across the East Midlands to hear how they are contributing to the region and the UK’s economic success. Find out more

Image Courtesy of Marketing Derby

Toyota starts production of new model at Burnaston

This month saw the official start of production of the new Toyota Corolla which is the world’s best-selling car, with 46 million sold globally since its introduction in 1966.

The launch follows a £240 million investment into the Derbyshire plant which employs 2,600 people. 

The event was attended by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who said: "Toyota has done the country a service, in bringing to life the benefits and the actuality of just-in-time production of advanced manufacturing and the benefits that there are to all." Find out more

To read Greg Clark's speech in full, click here.

Image Courtesy of the West Midlands Combined Authority

‘New era’ for West Midlands rail travel as 30 year strategy approved

A revolution in rail services across the West Midlands is outlined in a new strategy.

The Rail Investment Strategy, published this month by the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), sets out short, medium and long-term plans to provide improved rail services across the whole region.

The Strategy has been drawn up by the WMRE in collaboration with Midlands Connect, the Department for Transport and the wider rail industry. It has been finalised following a period of public and stakeholder consultation. Find out more

Image courtesy of Staffordshire County Council 

Expansion go-ahead at Staffordshire business park could bring £300 million to local economy

An extension to a major Midlands business park which could generate around 1,700 jobs and lever in up to £300 million of investment has been given the go-ahead.

Work to extend i54 South Staffordshire by approximately a third of its current size can now begin. Plans to extend to the west of the current site on the Staffordshire county border with the City Wolverhampton were announced early in 2018.

When the extended site is fully built and occupied by businesses from a range of sectors, it could release up to £3 million a year in business rates – around half of which could be reinvested in funding public services. The first phase of the extension would create around one million square feet of new commercial business floor space. Find out more

Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022

Chief Executive confirmed for 2022 Commonwealth Games organising committee and four new appointments complete the board

Ian Reid has been confirmed as the Chief Executive Officer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee - the team organising the largest event ever to be staged in the West Midlands.

The 41-year-old was the Chief Financial Officer for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and has held the post of Interim Chief Executive with the Birmingham Organising Committee since May last year. Find out more

In addition, four new members have been appointed to the 2022 Commonwealth Games Board, including Non-Executive Directors, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Lyndsey Jackson and Nick Timothy. Find out more

Image Courtesy of Lurex

Loughborough University partnership is weaving new products for Lurex

A partnership between Loughborough University and Leicestershire-based manufacturer Lurex is helping the company to develop innovative yarns and enter new product markets.

Established in 1946, The Lurex Company is a leading global brand and manufacturer of metallic yarns. Its fine glittering threads are generally associated with fashion items, accessories and home furnishings, but as fashion trends change, Lurex has been working to identify and develop a range of products utilising carbon fibre which will sell all year-round. Through the partnership with Loughborough University, Kerry Walton, an expert in weaving and lecturer-researcher, was able to weave various samples of carbon fibre with Lurex yarn, showing the range of patterns and effects that could be achieved.

Once woven, carbon fibre is impregnated with resin and sets to create a strong, light-weight material suitable for use in road vehicles, aircraft, marine vessels and sports equipment. It is also increasingly used to create luggage, laptops and phone cases as well as internal trims for cars. Find out more

University of Nottingham to hold 'Ingenuity19' competition for the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators

Ingenuity19 is designed to discover and develop enterprising ideas to transform the future. It is an opportunity for disruptors, entrepreneurs and community innovators to come together and explore key challenges facing society.

Ingenuity19 aims to inspire its participants, offering them the tools to develop their ideas into costed business plans and to provide them with an opportunity to compete for a prize fund in excess of £150,000.

Over the past three years, the Ingenuity competition has seen over 1,000 innovators take part; awarded over £350,000 of funding for start-ups; and reached a global audience, spanning countries such as China, Malaysia, Nigeria and India.

Those seeking to participate in the programme and competition need to register by 7th February. Find out more

The university is also looking for business leaders to become mentors to participants. Details can be found here.  

More regional highlights

  • Stoke pottery manufacturer to report record profits due to overseas trade growth. Read more 
  • Nottingham based Boots' parent company teams up with Microsoft for revolutionary health care project. Read more 
  • JCB set to open the world's most advanced 'cabs' factory this summer. Read more 
  • Derby motorcycle manufacturer wins £20 million Japanese deal. Read more 
  • University of Birmingham research could revolutionise concussion testing in Premier League. Read more 
  • £30 million redevelopment in Derby given the go-ahead. Read more 
  • Nottingham manufacturer secures first UAE order for building sensor technology solutions. Read more 
  • Marketing Derby beats New York and Hong Kong to global award. Read more
  • Birmingham announces preferred development partner for £1.5 billion site. Read more
  • Derby's Tidyco expands to offer new service to UK Rail industry. Read more 
  • £1.5 million funding to transform Nottingham's 'Southern Gateway' approved. Read more
Upcoming events
Visit the Midland Engine website for a full event listing HERE.

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