After our first full year as the West Midlands Growth Company, we held our Annual Review at Birmingham Hippodrome on 21st November 2019. Our Chairman Matthew Hammond thanked our shareholders and partners for their continued support and announced that the West Midlands Combined Authority had agreed to significantly increase its funding contribution to the company. From April 2019 the WMCA has agreed to invest £2.5m per annum for a minimum of two years to support the company’s international promotion efforts. This is a significant vote of confidence in the company and the important work it does for the region.
The last 12 months has also seen an increase in commercial partner support for the Growth company. Our Chairman thanked the 7 local authorities and 3 Local Enterprise Partnerships for ensuring the company has been able to get behind a common vision for the region and paid particular thanks to the 6 Universities who are now active partners in the company. Matthew reminded us all that despite global trading uncertainty the region has a once in a lifetime opportunity to benefit from HS2, 5G, the airport’s masterplan and the global spotlight that the UK City of Culture, 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
We were joined by Jan Chaudry Van der Velde, Managing Director of West Midlands Trains for an update on developments and investment plans across the network. You can view Jan’s presentation here.
The West Midlands has continued to outperform other UK regions in recent years in terms of exports, job growth and foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2017/18 the West Midlands attracted more projects and jobs from FDI than any region outside of London.
The region is enjoying a construction boom with significant city and town centre developments now underway. Much of the new development is focussed on meeting the region’s challenging housing needs and maximising benefits of Metro extension and HS2. Designs for the new HS2 stations at Curzon and Interchange were recently revealed and can be viewed here.
In October 2018 the West Midlands was the first region to launch a new Local Industrial Strategy. This will assist the Company in developing future inward investments plan and programme activities.
The company has undertaken a regional investment showcase roadshow during 2018. This was launched at the Institute of engineers in January 2018 with investment opportunities launched at Mipim, MIPIM UK and Mipim Asia. A film of the launch event can be viewed here.
A range of sector campaigns took place over the year with a particular focus on advanced manufacturing, tech and business and professional services.
The company secured 47 investment projects attract 4,368 new jobs with particular success in rail related activities, healthcare, tech and business services.
Whilst the region was unsuccessful in attracting Channel 4’s HQ, the project has developed a significant level of collaboration and joint-working across the creative industries sector, with a renewed focus on developing our media production and related businesses. Considerable effort is now underway to ensure Stephen Knight’s Mercian studios plans are realised.
The Company has made further progress in its programme to secure new Non Departmental Bodies to the region. Aligned to our Local Industrial Strategy and working with local authorities, Universities and the WMCA it is hoped this will secure a number of new facilities for the region.
A full copy of the Annual Review presentation can be found here.
We currently have two events scheduled for our commercial partners as follows:
Wednesday 23rd January 2019 0800 – 1000. Theme: Engaging with your customers through innovation in digital tech.
Wednesday 27th March 2019 0800 – 1000. Theme: Delivering an Investable region