The company has continued to build new partnerships and develop collaborative programmes across a range of different sectors over the last quarter. At a time of increased uncertainty in political and economic events, we have seen a demand from investors and stakeholders in our insight work and a desire for more proactive investment promotion of the region.

Our investment work on India and China continues apace. We are developing plans to create a new India West Midlands Alliance to maximise two-way trade and leverage our Universities strengths in this market. We supported the successful Midlands wide bid to host a UK-China Regional Leaders’ Summit in Birmingham in February next year. This will see a number of key Chinese cities and provinces meeting with its counterparts across the Midlands to promote new economic and cultural partnerships.  We will also support the World Chinese Entrepreneurs convention in October, which will see up to 3,000 Chinese companies in the UK seeking new business opportunities particularly in the tech sector.

Following a significant consultation period we launched a new Regional Tourism Strategy aimed at generating a £1 billion boost to the region’s economy and attracting 19,000 additional jobs. It was good to see so many partners gather at the launch event – local and national – and to hear CEO of VisitBritain / VisitEngland Sally Balcombe talk about the close alignment of the regional strategy to national priorities.

We continue to focus prioritising the key sectors outlined in the region’s Industrial Strategy with a number of events planned over the coming months. Our programme of sector dinners continues with a focus on the rail industry followed by fintech, building on the success of the recent aerospace dinner. Last week we hosted a successful partner event around 5G, which set out the significant opportunity this presents for the UK and the region.

Supporting all our activity is building the region’s reputation in line with the West Midlands brand and the positioning identified in the Local Industrial Strategy. Working with seven Metropolitan Borough Councils and the six Universities of the West Midlands, we compiled more than 50 examples of the region making, creating and innovating (past and present). The content has been shared widely and is being used as part of pitches and proposals to bring in companies to the West Midlands and attract conferences and events.

The 50 ways the West Midlands has made its mark campaign is hosted on our regional tourism platform. Traffic to the site is growing with a 380% increase since launch, there were nearly 3k visits during July and August. We are in the final stages of developing the first phase of our new investment website – InvestWM. Innovation is a central theme with the university offer integrated throughout the site, as well as pages on each of the market opportunities from the Local Industrial Strategy. Both sites act as a platform for the regional story and signpost onto local sites.

Work is progressing well to develop a new and bespoke three-year programme of trade, investment and tourism activity to leverage the platform created by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.  The programme has been developed with regional partners, DCMS, DIT and Visit Britain.  It aims to boost the economy by up to £250 million and create a further 2,600 jobs.  A formal bid to Government has now been submitted.

In November we will host our annual review meeting and I hope you’ll be able to join us. There have been many developments over the last year – and this will be a chance for us to share the successes and look ahead at what we need to do in these uncertain times.

Neil Rami
Chief Executive
September 2019

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