The Midlander 18 - September 2018

The newsletter of the Midlands Engine

Midlands cities celebrate as they make the shortlist to share £840m transformation fund

Local authorities in Derby & Nottingham (pictured), Leicester City and Stoke-on-Trent are celebrating as they make the shortlist of ten city regions which will benefit from £840 million to upgrade public transport links, the Prime Minister has announced today (Friday 28th September).

The shortlist marks the next stage of the £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund, which as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, is supporting cities to make it easier, safer and quicker for people to travel and get to work by funding improved transport connections.

Over the next four years, the funding will be used to improve transport links in city regions, linking travel to work areas, increasing access to jobs and helping ensure that businesses have the infrastructure they need to thrive. Find out more

(l to r) Helen Gyves, Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Margot James MP, Minister for Digital, and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands. Image Courtesy of the West Midlands Combined Authority

West Midlands to become UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed

The West Midlands has been selected to become the home to the UK’s first multi-city 5G test bed. The Urban Connected Communities Project will see a large-scale 5G pilot developed across the region, with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

The West Midlands Combined Authorities bid has an initial focus on the health, construction and automotive sectors, with its overarching ambition to help drive economic growth and digitally transform public services. Find out more

This month also saw Mark Stansfeld, the Chairman of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed, give an update on the pilot project they are undertaking on behalf of the Government at the Mobile World Congress, which was held in the United States.

East Midlands sees the biggest rise of any English region for exporting goods

New figures released by HMRC show goods exports have risen across the UK. In the year to June 2018, the overall value of UK trade in goods exports increased by 5.4% (compared with the same period last year). And the overall value of imports increased by 3.3%. Find out more

The East Midlands saw the biggest rise in exporting of any English region by 13.2% to £21.5 billion, and the biggest rise of the value of imports too, which is up by 7.4%. For a full breakdown of the figures for each region, click here

UK to become world leader in low emission vehicle tech, PM declares at summit in Birmingham

Prime Minister Theresa May used the UK's first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit to announce £106 million for research and development in green vehicles, new batteries and low carbon technology.

Also, as part of the summit there were announcements of funding, investments and jobs being created in the Midlands, including:

•  A £50 million investment in Coventry by Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Company Ltd to create a new UK research and development centre, employing more than 150 engineers.
•  A £6 million investment by JEE to establish an assembly and testing facility in Birmingham, employing around 20 people.
•  A new joint EV Charging Centre of Excellence will be created in Warwick by the UK-based charging station development company, the EV Network, which is joining forces with Leclanché, who will be supplying the battery storage solutions to the stations.
•  The creation of the UK’s largest, independent, vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Coventry in early 2019 by Hyperbat Limited, which will create around 90 jobs.

Find out more

Midlands Engine creative businesses on China trade mission

Fourteen Midlands businesses with growth potential have this month travelled to Hangzhou, China as part of a five-day trade visit to the city to forge trade links and further strengthen the Midlands relationship with the region, and to attend the Hangzhou Cultural and Creative Industry Expo in Zhejiang province. 

The delegation includes universities and businesses across the Midlands region, with supporting representation from Nottingham’s Creative Quarter and Nottingham City Council.

As well as attending the cultural fair, the Midlands businesses had the opportunity to exhibit their products and services at the expo which attracts 400,000 business visitors and ranks as one of China’s top five industry events.

The trade mission will be the first of many commercially focused creative and cultural exchanges between the Midlands and Zhejiang in the coming months. Find out more

Image courtesy of DIT

Three Midlands counties win multi-billion-pound bids to join 'High Potential Opportunities' scheme

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP has been in Coventry this month to announce three new High Potential Opportunities (HPO) areas in the region. They are; Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Worcestershire.

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) global network – based in 177 cities around the world – will now contact investors to promote the opportunities and attract top global investment into the Midlands.

The High Potential Opportunities Scheme is part of the International Trade Secretary’s drive to secure new investment into the Midlands. Earlier this year, Dr Fox announced that nearly £11 billion worth of investment-ready projects are in the Midlands. Find out more

Image Courtesy of MIRA Technology Park

Leicestershire's MIRA Technology Park receives national award for international trade

MIRA Technology Park has received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for demonstrating consistent international revenue growth.

As part of the award ceremony, ground was broken on two new research and development facilities, which will become home to businesses specialising in electric hybrid vehicles, connected and autonomous vehicles, and advanced driver-assistance systems, with automotive businesses from China and North America already confirmed as new tenants when the facilities are completed.

The development of the site has led to an increase in the park's Total Revenue Growth of 320%. Since 2011, MIRA has created and safeguarded over 600 jobs. Find out more

Preparations for Birmingham 2022 - the Midlands' largest ever sport and cultural event - gather pace

The latest marker in the preparations for one of the world's biggest sporting events has been reached, with the first meeting of the newly-appointed Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Board.
The board comprises sports, civic and business experts and leaders representing Birmingham City Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority, the UK Government, Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games England.

The board meeting is the latest in a series of early milestones delivered by the Games Partners since Birmingham was awarded the Commonwealth Games in December, with the recruitment for a permanent Chief Executive underway. Find out more

Airport shortlisted for national transport award

The Transport Times’ Annual Transport Awards celebrates the success of national and local transport projects.

East Midlands Airport's (EMA) shortlisting, as Airport of the Year, is in recognition of the growth of its cargo operation. The airport, which is the UK’s busiest for dedicated freight aircraft, now handles over 1000 tonnes of cargo a day. Current figures show that over the last 12 months, the total weight of goods that passed through EMA was 363,228 tonnes, which is the equivalent of around 90,000 elephants.

Today, EMA is second only to Heathrow in terms of the total volume of cargo handled at a UK airport. Find out more

Image courtesy of HS2

Solihull secures £10m of transport and infrastructure funding ahead of HS2 arrival

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has provided £10.2 million to help deliver significant transport and infrastructure investment in Solihull, ahead of the arrival of HS2.

The funding given to Solihull Council will be used to support a number of schemes including key route improvements, investments in sustainable travel and new technologies including low carbon energy and electric and autonomous vehicles.

The schemes will fit into wider regional investment from HS2, Highways England, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, and the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA). The combined investment will underpin the area’s potential for growth which is estimated to create 90,000 jobs and increase of £5.3 billion per annum in GVA for the West Midlands up to 2050. Find out more

Jet2 to create 400 jobs at Birmingham and
East Midlands Airports

The low cost airline has announced it is looking to create around 400 jobs at the two regional airports in the Midlands.

The airline is aiming to boost capacity next summer by more than 25%, with over 1.6 million seats on sale. As part of the expanding programme, and Jet2holidays are launching three new destinations from Birmingham –  Bourgas in Bulgaria, Izmir in Turkey and Chania in Crete. 

Find out more about the Birmingham Airport announcement.
Find out more about the East Midlands Airport announcement.

Image courtesy of Marketing Derby

Nuclear advanced research centre to open in Derby

One of the UK’s high-value manufacturing Catapults is to open a state-of-the-art research and innovation centre in Derby bringing the latest advanced manufacturing technologies.

HVM Catapults is a network of seven partnerships between academia and industry tasked with transforming the UK’s productivity performance, and to support high-value manufacturing in regions across the country.

This centre is being led by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC). It will base a small operation at Connect Derby’s iHub in Infinity Park Derby (IPD) while a larger 4,500m2 facility is being planned. The government-funded NAMRC will be investing £3.5 million and creating 18 new jobs in the next two years. Find out more

Five Midlands companies feature in Britain’s fastest-growing tech firms league table

The annual Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s private technology, media and telecoms companies with the fastest-growing sales, with five Midlands companies named on the list.

The five companies, all headquartered in the Midlands, have grown their sales by an average of 91% a year over three years to a total of £100 million, and together they now employ 570 people.

The five companies include; UNiDAYS, which is based in Nottingham and can instantly verify students for retail brands using its technology, Biosite Systems of Solihull, which has more than 200,000 UK construction workers at over 1,000 construction sites in the UK, currency transfer provider TransferWise, peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle and online entertainment community LADBible Group. Find out more

Major deal sealed with tech giant to expand presence in Leicestershire

Plans to create hundreds of jobs, and generate £1.6 million for front line County Council services have been unveiled by the Secretary of State for Communities and Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP (pictured), during a visit to the Midlands.

Leading software company, The Access Group, will be expanding its headquarters and moving in to a new 100,000 sq. ft. office on the Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park. 

Investment in the new office space by Leicestershire County Council will see the creation of over 500 new jobs. It is believed to be the largest, single-occupier office deal in the county this century. Find out more

More regional highlights

  • Employment growth rate in the West Midlands best in the country. Read more 
  • Midlands Engine funding helps Leicester firm roll out food safety tech solution. Read more 
  • State-of-the-art distribution centre in Derbyshire opened by Greg Clark. Read more 
  • Online pharmacy giant locates to Leicestershire logistics hub. Read more 
  • ONS reveals UK economy grew at its fastest pace for over a year in latest figures. Read more 
  • UK wages growth hits three-year high. Read more 
  • BioHub Birmingham develops new incubator space. Read more 
  • New £83m Shropshire based military hub will transform support for frontline troops. Read more 
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