The first part of 2019 has been focused on project delivery and development of strategies which support our vision and the market opportunities set out in the Local Industrial Strategy.
Our vision is to help deliver a confident and prosperous West Midlands where everyone shares in an improved quality of life. We have four roles in helping to achieve that vision: attracting end occupiers, tourists and capital investment to the region, and increasing our ability to do so by improving perceptions of the West Midlands through place marketing.
To deliver for the West Midlands we need to agree a shared approach and priorities. The Growth Company team are working across the four areas:
- Business Attraction: building on the IBM-PLI evidence base on foreign direct investment and aligning to the market opportunities set out in the Local Industrial Strategy a new five year inward investment strategy is being developed. Working in conjunction with partners in the public and private sector we’ll promote the competitive strengths and assets of the region to deliver more jobs.
- Capital Attraction: work is underway with the local authorities and West Midlands Combined Authority to agree a coordinated approach in this area.
- Visitor Attraction: to support the tourism sector and inform investment decisions we are currently consulting stakeholders to identify strategic priorities for the company and region, to grow volume and value sustainably. The tourism strategy will be published in June 2019.
- Place Marketing: working with our partners we’ll engage stakeholders across the region in a shared vision and activity - building an integrated marketing communication strategy to maximise awareness and consideration, focused on attracting jobs, investment, events and visitors.
Key Projects and Programmes
MIPIM 2019, will see the largest Midlands UK presence to date, showcasing over £11 billion worth of investment opportunities to a global audience. 78 Midlands Commercial Partners have signed up to be part of the Midlands UK at MIPIM and with our Local Authority (Destination) Partners, approximately 340 people from 100 organisations will make up the largest Midlands UK delegation ever.
The new Midlands UK website midlandsukmipim.com and event programme was launched on the 4 February and will see over 40 events take place in the Midlands UK Pavilion. Key themes for the programme include master planning and economic policy, a sector by sector showcase (Office and mixed-use, life sciences, tech and creative, logistics and industrial and residential), end occupiers and inclusive growth, plus a range of special events focusing on regeneration through sport and culture.
MIPIM will also provide a platform to showcase the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy and profile our key focus markets of Smart mobility, Life sciences and healthcare, BPFS and the Creative Industries. A new Investment Prospectus featuring a range of projects seeking capital investment will also be launched at the event.
A number of pre-MIPIM events have been completed with an increase in attendance and engagement from 2018. The ‘Leaders’ Dinner took place on 13 February at KPMG, bringing together key regional leaders and Platinum and Principal Commercial Partners, with a final commercial partner briefing being held on the 20 February at Cundall.
A financial and operational review of MIPIM has been undertaken and discussions have commenced with the Department of Investment and Trade (DIT) and the Midlands Engine Partnership to determine what the best model for operating the event should be moving forward. The CEO will provide a verbal update on this at the Board.
To showcase the strength of our region’s universities an event was held on the 22 January 2019 which included the six Vice Chancellors and some 20 senior business leaders across the property, banking, accountancy and legal sectors.
The event, hosted by Deloitte and chaired by Matthew Hammond (WMGC Chair) provided each University with an opportunity to highlight a particular area of expertise relevant to the BPFS sector. Feedback from participants has been positive, to date, with a number of practical suggestions for further collaboration agreed.
A key strength for the region is business tourism. With industry partners we are building a shortlist of ICCA-ranked conferences aligned with our priority inward investment sectors and university strengths to attract to the region. We are planning a regional presence at a key business trade show, ‘The Meetings Show’ on 26–27 June 2019, with Conference Coventry, Shakespeare’s England and featuring partners from across the West Midlands.
The England’s Waterways and Experience England projects have developed new product and engaged with over 100 tourism businesses and stakeholders from across the region. We have established new distribution channels in partnership with travel trade agents and operators.
Two Inward Investment missions are scheduled. The first is from Central and Eastern Europe with 5-8 Fintech & Enterprise Software companies visiting the region on the 4-6 March 2019, it will be funded by the Midlands Engine and led by WMGC. Then an Indian Tech mission- which is DIT India led and funded - is scheduled for 12 March. This will include a delegation of 20 Tech companies from the Chandigarh area visiting the region accompanied by the British Deputy High Commissioner.
Other events coming up include the Midlands Aerospace Alliance International Conference at ICC on the 19 March 2019 and the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) Birmingham Forum on the 27-28 March. Both events provide potential opportunities to target new and existing inward investors.
WMGC held a partner event on 23 January 2019 themed around engaging with customers in a digital age. Dave Maclean, the keynote speaker, talked on the Regional 5G testbed roll out followed by a panel of industry experts. Partner feedback was extremely positive following the event.
Our next event is on 27 March 2019 looking at ‘delivering an investable region’. The event will focus on regional developments and activity that makes the West Midlands stand out as a prime investment opportunity. Featuring speakers and panellists from across the region - it will also highlight successful collaborations between stakeholders.
The following Partners event will be on 15 May 2019 at HSBC offices and will focus on the theme of ‘attracting Inward Investment’. Then on 3 July 2019 we will host our Summer Drinks event for Partners.