Greater Birmingham has the best strategy for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) of all large cities in Europe, according to fDi Magazine's European Cities and Regions of the Future ranking – one of the industry’s most prominent benchmarks of FDI competitiveness.
The awards – run by fDi Magazine, a division of the Financial Times – also rank Greater Birmingham in Europe’s top 10 large cities for connectivity and business friendliness. The rankings are based on the support services offered to new businesses, and unprecedented levels of infrastructure investment underway to improve connectivity and pave the way for HS2. An international awards ceremony will take place at property conference MIPIM (Cannes, Frances) on Tuesday 13th March.
Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, commented:
“The latest awards from fDi Magazine are testament to the region’s robust growth strategy, critical mass of talent and continuously evolving landscape.
“Greater Birmingham focuses on sectors that either generate a high number of jobs, highly skilled roles or have the potential to make a significant economic impact in the future. This city region is also in an excellent position geographically; being in the centre of the UK allows firms to access all national markets with ease.”
The sectors investing in Greater Birmingham reflect the city region’s strategy for targeting key sectors. From advanced manufacturing to life sciences; business, professional and financial services (BPFS); tech and digital media, these industries have been targeted as part of the Greater Birmingham’s strategy to diversify its economy and create the greatest employment opportunities for local workers.
Recent investors include global German-owned manufacturer Guhring, which recently unveiled its new £12 million UK headquarters in Birmingham; Chinese automotive giant Changan moving to Solihull and US hydraulic supplier HydraForce. Tech and digital firms have included Allegis Global Investments, which moved into Birmingham’s new collaborative workspace, Alpha Works. Jacobs and Bechtel are among companies moving into Greater Birmingham from the BPFS sector.
Tim Pile, Chair of GBSLEP, commented:
“The scale of investment coming into Greater Birmingham has rapidly gained momentum in recent years, creating a more diversified, robust economy. There is increased confidence in the region following large-scale infrastructure and development schemes such as its two HS2 stations, the £400 million extension of Birmingham Airport and The Hub in Solihull. These sorts of developments demonstrate to investors that Greater Birmingham is an ideal place for running an international business.
“Channelling investment into Greater Birmingham is not solely about being attractive financially and geographically; the talent needs to be available as well. Greater Birmingham has the highest percentage of people under 25 of all LEP areas, and businesses are able to capitalise on the young and highly skilled workforce here.”
fDi Magazine also recently recognised the relocations service operating in Birmingham’s Enterprise Zone, as part of its Global Free Zones of the Year 2017. The service was launched at MIPIM in 2015 as the first of its kind in the UK, tailored to firms moving to the Enterprise Zone. It is operated by the West Midlands Growth Company and supported by Birmingham City Council and the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP).
A team of city experts provide staff looking to relocate to Greater Birmingham with advice on areas ranging from property to education, healthcare, transport and leisure. A website, bespoke city tours and lifestyle magazine are also available.
Neil Rami, Chief Executive of West Midlands Growth Company, commented:
“The relocations service that assists companies moving into Birmingham’s Enterprise Zone, in the city centre and around the planned HS2 station at Curzon Street, is crucial in helping to attract talented staff here, and assist innovative companies that need highly skilled people to work for them. Industry recognition for the Enterprise Zone is testament to the hard work that has accompanied projects like HSBC moving to Arena Central, supported by the team here.
“Greater Birmingham also offers a busy, sophisticated business environment, where the private and public sectors work closely with our relocations service to welcome and support companies that are moving here from across the world.”